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Posts Tagged ‘Panamian coyotes’

Coyotes are the most widespread wild dogs in North America.

In fact, I don’t know of a single species of wild dog whose range is almost the entire continent.

Coyotes are from from eastern Canada, including Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, west to Alaska.

They are found in every state in the Lower 48.

And their range continues south through Mexico.

It just keeps going south until, well, you run out of North America.

The southernmost Coyotes are found in Panama, specifically the Azuero Peninsula.

We North Americans tend to count Panama as part of our continent, although as a former region of Colombia, it has been counted as part of South America.

If this is North America, then this is the southernmost part of our continent, and these are the southernmost coyotes.

They are quite small animals, often under 20 pounds in weight.  Compared with the coyotes I normally see, these animals are quite minuscule, almost like a different species.

It was often said that the coyote would never make it to Alaska or Newfoundland, and now coyotes live in both places and are doing fairly well.

I wonder how far south coyotes will actually go.

I would not be surprised if they made to Colombia and eventually became settled in the northern parts of South America.

Such is the case with the gray fox, which also has a vast range in the Americas. It is not common north of  the US/Canadian border, so its range is not nearly as extensive as the coyote. But because it is found over such a wide area, it might be an interesting parallel to see exactly how far south the coyote will go.

Of course these Panamanian coyotes have to get past the Panama Canal, but coyotes seem to be able to deal with the most extreme human interference on the landscape, including places like New York and Los Angeles. All of that canal traffic should be that much of an obstacle.

Plus, coyotes can swim.

And walk across bridges.

I’m not counting the possibility of Colombian coyotes out.

Not by a long shot.

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Coyotes would not be the first member the genus Canis to invade South America through the Isthmus of Panama.

The extinct dire wolf evolved on the North American plains and then invaded South America.

If the coyote makes it in Colombia, it would following in the footsteps of its massive cousin that went extinct at the end of the last ice age.

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