Appearance: Coyotes are smaller than gray wolves but larger than foxes. Their fur ranges in color from reddish to brown and yellowish to gray. They haveprominent ears, rust-colored legs, and a bushy tail with a black tip. Adults are generally three to four feet in length and weigh 20 to 40 pounds. They are often heard more than they are seen. Their high-pitched howls and barks are used to communicate their position, confirm hunting success, or to reinforce social bonds.
Range: Coyotes thrive in areas with a diversity of habitats including brushy country, ravines, thickets, and small woodlots. They are most active at night and can live alone, in pairs, or in loosely knit packs of non-breeding animals. Their only serious predator is humans, who hunt them with dogs and guns; however, they have been able to maintain their population numbers due to their high adaptability.
Diet: Most humans are fearful of predatory animals. Part of the stigma against coyotes is their occasional feeding on domestic poultry and livestock. However, about three-fourths of their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, and squirrels. They will also eat insects, fruits, berries, seeds, grasses, and dead animal matter.
Beatrice & Barney
Bea (front) and Barney (back) were wild born and came to the WNC Nature Center in April 2006. At just 2 weeks old, Bea and Barney were orphaned after their mother was killed. Rescued by a local family, the two siblings were brought to the WNC Nature Center where they found their new home. When they arrived, their eyes were not even open yet. Since Bea and Barney were so young when their mother died, they never learned survival skills and do not fear humans.
Bea loves to interact with the animal keepers. Much as siblings do, Bea and Barney will fight over attention from the keepers. In the mornings, they can be seen playing together and chase each other. Both Bea and Barney love when their keepers give them pieces of frozen banana as enrichment.