Exposing the Big Game

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Coyotes-howl-to-chat-with-their-neighbors-12442786.php

December 19, 2017 Updated: December 19, 2017

A coyote. Photo: Christopher Gallello

A coyote.

Coyotes are more than an icon of the American West. They are probably your neighbors.

More and more people are routinely hearing coyotes yip, bark and howl in their backyards or in other urban and suburban settings. In fact, Canis latrans, the scientific name for coyotes, means “barking dog.”

When you watch coyotes throw their heads back and sing to their heart’s content, they seem to enjoy it. That was Marc’s impression when he and his students studied wild coyotes in the Grand Teton National Park for more than eight years. It’s fun, it feels good, so why not howl?

But what are they saying?

Researchers have identified around a dozen or so coyote vocalizations. Some coyote sounds are used to defend their territory and dens and to tell other coyotes they’re around…

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