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In late June, a 3-month-old male coyote was rescued from Glendora and brought to California Wildlife Center by animal control. He was orphaned, severely emaciated, dehydrated and full of parasites. Staff drew blood during the initial exam and tested the pup for parvovirus, an extremely contagious canine disease. Luckily, the patient was negative.
Veterinarian Dr. Stephany Lewis prescribed fluid therapy, including an IV catheter, to combat dehydration. The Coyote was also dewormed with several antiparasitics. He was gradually fed small, frequent meals of more easily digested food until his appetite improved.
The patient became more active, gained weight, and was soon parasite free. On July 6, he was moved into a pen next to two other young coyote patients, and the following day he was introduced to them. The three juveniles will form a pack, and they will be released together in October!
Coyotes range across most of North America and Central America in a variety of habitats. They are omnivores whose primary prey are rabbits, gophers, and insects. They eat fruit as well as pet and human food when they have access to it in more urban areas. According to a National Park Service study, urban coyotes are also more likely to hunt domestic cats than those located in undeveloped areas. The best way to keep your cat safe is by keeping them indoors at all times.
In the past, coyotes were outcompeted by apex predators such as mountain lions, wolves, and bears, which kept their population numbers down. The reduction or elimination of these large predators by humans has resulted in an increase in coyote populations, and they have now filled the role of the top predator in many areas. Coyotes are also very adaptable, willing to traverse urban areas unlike our other local large predator, the mountain lion.
In a separate NPS study, urban coyotes were found to move between open spaces and parks and less likely to spend time in developed neighborhoods. They are more apt to be drawn to human-inhabited areas if there is food available. It is essential to keep lids on your trash cans, not leave out pet food, and clean up fallen fruit. Coyotes, as well as other wild animals, may become aggressive if they are intentionally or unintentionally fed by humans.
This controversial wild neighbor does play a vital role in the ecosystem. Coyotes eat gophers as well as rats and mice, who are often considered pests by humans. For more information about peacefully coexisting with Coyotes, please check out our Coyote Coexisting Guidelines. If you see a sick or injured coyote keep an eye on it from a distance and contact CWC (310-458-9453) or your local animal control agency immediately. Large predators (coyotes, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions) should only be transported by trained professionals.
California Wildlife Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides medical and rehabilitative care to more than 4,300 sick, injured, and orphaned native California animals every year. Click here.