A coyote sends a yippy howl through the granite-flanked gap of Yosemite Valley. The long-distance call, rare in mammals, wards off packs nearby. The second coyote may chime in to broadcast the number in its pack, but for now it is preoccupied with digging for a gopher or another burrower.
Coyotes evolved as hunters of small prey on the Great Plains. Since the 1950s, coyotes have expanded to the north and east where wolves once lived. In areas where wolves and cougars are still absent, coyotes act as top predators—although being smaller, they may scavenge as much big game as they catch.
Diorama site: Yosemite National Park, California
Range: Coyotes have expanded their range into former wolf territory, but as wolves return, coyote populations drop.
Did You Know?
Coyote droppings act like an I.D. card. From one sniff, another coyote can tell the sex, age range and fertility status of the depositor.