Q:

How does a coyote protect itself?

A:

Coyotes use their speed, agility, keen vision, hearing and sense of smell to protect themselves. They often hunt in pairs and small packs and distance themselves from predators, such as cougars and wolves. They protect their young by keeping them in dens until they are old enough to survive.

Coyotes run at speeds up to 40 mph, which not only aids them in hunting but also helps them flee from danger. Their varied diet, which includes deer, sheep, rabbits, mice, snakes, lizards, fish, insects, berries and fruit, protects them from scarcity of sustenance. They use their sharp senses to locate prey and anticipate danger. Although they sometimes hunt smaller prey alone, their propensity to hunt in groups protects them from larger animals. Coyotes sometimes follow cougars or wolves to share their kills, but they tend to avoid direct confrontations.

Coyote parents either dig their own dens or use abandoned badger holes, hollow trees or logs, crawl spaces under abandoned buildings, thick brush, or gaps beneath ledges. If the safety of a den is compromised, the parents move the pups to a new location. The pups first survive on milk and then on regurgitated food supplied by the parents. Although coyotes do not usually defend their territories, when cubs are young, both males and females defend their dens.

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