Outdoors just for kids: Coywolf has adapted to urban East

2014-02-13T00:00:00Z 2014-02-18T21:20:27Z Outdoors just for kids: Coywolf has adapted to urban East The Billings Gazette

I watched a very interesting television show the other night about the coywolf – the offspring of a coyote and wolf that interbred.

I didn’t know they existed, although I had heard rumors. It seemed impossible, since in places like Yellowstone National Park where wolves and coyotes live together, they are enemies. Wolves kill coyotes whenever they can and coyotes have been known to kill wolf pups.

So it didn’t seem possible to me that they would ever interbreed. But according to the television program I saw, a Southwestern coyote that traveled east in about 1919 found one of the few remaining eastern wolves in Ontario’s Algonquin Park in Canada and mated. The offspring became a cross of the coyote and wolf, or coywolf.

Since then, the coywolf has become very good at living in urban areas, roaming neighborhoods, streets and parks mostly at night to find food. Scientists think the main way that they travel from area to area is along railroad tracks, which is safer than walking along highways.

Coywolves have been found in large cities, like Toronto and New York, living right next to people in urban areas. It just shows you how smart and adaptable the animals are to living with humans.

It may not be easy for most people to tell the difference between a coywolf and a coyote, but here are some ways: a coywolf has longer legs, a longer body and a larger jaw, smaller ears and a bushier tail.

— Brett French, Gazette Outdoors editor

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Brett French

Outdoors editor for the Billings Gazette.

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