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Discover Nature: Coyotes Wean Pups

An adult coyote stands with its mouth open in a grassy field.
Coyotes wean pups and teach them to hunt and behave as adults this week in Missouri. Watch and listen for them, especially at dusk and dawn.

This week on Discover Nature, female coyotes wean their pups.


Keep an eye and an ear out, especially at dawn and dusk, for these canine scavengers. 

Coyotes are nocturnal but are also seen in daylight.  They live singly, in male-female pairs, or in family groups and use complex expressions and postures to communicate. 

They mate in early spring and birth litters of 5 to 7 pups in late April or May. 

By late June both parents begin teaching their young to hunt and behave as adults. 

Coyotes live in semi-open, brushy country, along timber edges, and in open farmlands. Occupying territories ranging from about 9 to 30 square miles. 

While coyotes may sometimes cause losses to livestock, they are often unjustly blamed for the work of free-running domesticated dogs. 

Coyotes mainly eat rabbits and mice and help control populations of rodent pests. They eat carrion as well as prey they kill themselves, and help remove old, injured, and diseased animals from the landscape. 

Learn more about coyotes in Missouri with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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