(Canis latrans) #62-301

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Physical characteristics and distribution

Coyote Canis latrans

Head and body length of C. latrans is 750-1,000 mm and tail length is 300-400 mm. Males weigh 8-20 kg and are usually larger than females who generally weigh from 7-18 kg. Individuals is the souther part of C. latrans range tend to be smaller than those who live in the north. Pelage varies, but is generally long and buffy gray with lighter underparts. The tip of the tail is often black.

C. latrans is found in a variety of habitats including open grasslands, brush country and broken forests. Coyotes builld .3 meter wide dens approximately 1 meter below ground which are reached by tunnels 1.5-7.5 meters long. They are generally nocturnal and crepuscular, covering an average of 4 km while hunting. C. latrans can reach speeds of up to 64 km/hr. The diet consists mainly of other mammals including lagomorphs and rodents, but have also been observed fishing in shallow water. Larger prey animals are usually taken in the form of carrion, but some coyotes do work together to bring down larger quarry. C. latrans may also form a 'hunting partnership' with the badger. They move together, the coyote using its keen sense of smell and the badger using its powerful digging capabilities to find and kill burrowing mammals. Both badger and coyote share their proceeds.

The availablilty of food and habitat have a direct impact on the social structure of C. latrans. The territories of males are rather large and tend to overlap, while that of females is smaller and do not. Once a female has chosen a partner from the several who may court her during mating season, she and the male may stay together for many years. Packs develop when the offspring of one pair remains with the parents to help rear subsequent litters. Mating takes place from January to March with births occuring in the spring. Estrus is from 4-15 days with gestation lasting 58-65 days. Litter sizes are between 2-12 offspring, averaging around 6 pups. Two females may share a den, resulting in apparently very large litters. The pups weigh about 250 grams at birth. They open their eyes at 14 days of age and emerge from the den after 2-3 weeks.

C. latrans is found in Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, USA. Introduced to Florida and Georgia and currently widespread throughout Northern and Central America.

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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