Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Home Range Eastern Coyotes' Habitat Has Expanded as They Adapt to Living among Humans

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Home Range Eastern Coyotes' Habitat Has Expanded as They Adapt to Living among Humans

Article excerpt

Municipal officials in Marshall and McCandless in the North Hills get enough questions about coyotes from residents to cause concern. Last year, nearby Ross held a community forum to discuss increased coyote sightings.

There's no doubt the animals have settled into Pittsburgh's parks, ravines and woodlots, and the state wildlife agency and pest control companies have fielded calls about coyotes in Hazelwood, the West End, South Side Slopes and other communities within the city.

If it's an invasion, it has been a quiet one that reached near- maximum population density more than a decade ago. It's likely that people are spotting coyotes more often because the two species are learning to live closer together.

"I'm guessing recent [residential and retail] developments have been put in that have caused [coyotes] to move into areas where they weren't previously. But they've been here for a long time," said Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Dan Puhala, whose district includes about half of Allegheny County. On Friday he led a coyote education class at North Park.

"First, people should know that they and their children are not in danger," he said. "Some people think 'coyote' and they think 'wolf,' and it frightens them. But it's an entirely different animal with different habits. The threat is very minimal."

Although coyotes live everywhere that humans do, only a few cases of coyote-related injuries have been documented in Pennsylvania. Rabies can occur, but the disease is far more common among bats, raccoons and skunks.

The Eastern coyote has a short and curious history. When European settlers arrived in the New World, the subspecies did not exist. A new evolutionary phenomenon, it is the result of crossbreeding among gray wolves and Western coyotes in southeastern Canada in the mid-1800s. The hybrid is smaller than the wolves it replaced and holds less territory, but it's bigger than its western cousin and defends a larger home range.

Highly adaptable and prolific, the Eastern coyote expanded into New England in the 1930s, and by the 1940s it had spread across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.