Maybe a little too close! His butt almost took down the camera!
The trail cam spooked this coyote before it ran off. If you can look closely and have a bit of understanding of domestic dog body language, the fear and nervousness exhibited here are unmistakable.
I posted this video on Facebook a few days ago, but Youtube’s resolution is just a lot better. You can tell this is a very typical Eastern coyote, which is a coyote that has some wolf and domestic dog ancestry.
It turns out that these animals are pretty darn hard to parody, because it turns out that an article recently published in the journal Checklist has documented their presence beyond the canal.
They are now South America bound. If they do make it to Colombia they will be the first wild Canis to be in found in South America since the dire wolf went extinct.
Researchers found that Panamanian coyotes prefer to inhabit cattle ranching areas, mainly because those areas are also where cougars and jaguars have largely been extirpated. The also readily prey upon poultry, calves, and small dogs in these areas.
The coyote now ranges from Labrador to Alaska south to Panama.
Right now, there are only two species of canid that can be found in both North and South America: the bush dog, which could be a potential competitor for the southbound coyotes, and Urocyon gray fox, which has been given top billing on this site in recent months.
I would almost put my money that one day there will be three. Canis latrans keeps pushing the boundaries of what we think we know about it.
They aren’t just survivors.
The are thrivers.
We kill off the big predators, and they sail in to exploit the new niches that are opened up.
We’ve come up with all sorts of creative ways to kill them, and they’ve just expanded– almost to spite us.
And you have to admire that.
A few weeks ago I came across some gray fox tracks in the sand. They were very small, as you can tell by the comparison with the SD card.
(Don’t give me hell for where the SD card was made!)
I’ve been trying for two weeks to get one of these young gray foxes on trail cam video, but I haven’t had any luck.
Until this week:
This week’s trail cam feature.
I estimate the bear was on film less than a half hour after I set the camera.
I have never seen this bear or any other bear in person on this access road, so they must be very good at reading people.
Which is wise.
Black bears are known for their intelligence, and this one tries to avoid walking in the mud where it would leave tracks.
Also, it’s very easy to see how a black bear could give someone the idea for bigfoot. Like humans, bears are plantigrade. Their heels touch the ground when they walk.
So if anything could give you an idea of wild man living in the forest, it would be one of these stealthy black bears.
Buoyed by the bear that came out on the trail cam this week, I set out a fresh bait of sardines.
And I got a gray fox on the camera last night.
Gray foxes are actually the last survivors of a lineage of North American dogs that diverged from the rest of the dog family 9 to 10 million years ago.
They aren’t really “foxes” in the same way red foxes, arctic foxes, and swift foxes are.
The gray fox, which I think should just be called Urocyon (their genus name, which means “tailed dog,” a very apt name!), are ecologically like the European wildcat. They live on small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and unlike other dogs, readily to take to the trees to forage for food and avoid predators.
Finding a gray fox here means that I probably won’t be getting any red foxes on the camera. Gray foxes dominate reds, and coyotes eat them. With coyotes and gray foxes in the same area, my guess is that no red fox could live here without constant persecution.