Coyotes on PEI

COYOTES ON P.E.I.

 The quiet movement and the shallow draft of the canoe/kayak can take you into areas that larger and noisier boats cannot, often, quite distant from human habitation. You might be lucky enough to spot a coyote on the shore, for coyotes live very well on the Island. We have spotted coyotes running from an open field to a thick clump of trees. Coyotes, often associated with the Western Plains, have migrated to every part of North America. P.E.I. is an island, so how did these very intelligent relatives of the dog get here? The answer is quite reasonable. They simply walked over the ice of the Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the winter. Actually, their migration was very recent, perhaps within the last fifty years. Now they are fully entrenched all over the Island, and here to stay. Thankfully, they will not overrun the natural habitat for they, like the wolf, are self-regulating in terms of population growth. Their diet is varied, from small rodents such as mice to carrion, birds, and vegetation. They will eat almost anything. Confrontations with the coyote are rare; they will be infrequently spotted during the day or night.  Eastern coyotes are larger than their western brethren. They look like smallish wolves rather than foxes, which are much smaller and elongated. There have been some conflicts between coyotes and livestock herders, but intelligent management of lambs and calves has reduced the risks of coyotes killing young livestock.

          To catch a glimpse of a coyote or hear its wolf-like howl and bark is thrilling, especially for the paddler who lapses into imaginary trips back into a more primitive wilderness time.

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