A model fox and coyote visit Dublin to help us learn more about the beautiful wild canines in our midst!
Coyotes and fox are likely to be seen AND heard in February, March and April, but no need to fear their presence!
These taxidermy models of a red fox and Eastern Coyote depict the normal size and build of the foxes and coyotes living in Dublin and surrounding communities. These animals are surprisingly MUCH smaller than most of us realize!
Red foxes weigh about 8 lbs and coyotes in Central Ohio range from about 22-38 lbs. They often look much larger, especially when moving and in the winter when they sport thick, fluffy coats. As we can see on these models however, they are very lean and light-boned in structure. A domestic dog of the same height, for example, such as a lab type dog or a shepherd type dog, would have much thicker bone, a heavier build and heavier muscle.
The lean structure of our coyotes and foxes serves several purposes. These animals feed primarily on small rodents. They need to be able to move and jump and maneuver quick and carrying extra pounds would inhibit the agility necessary to capture their prey. And just the activity of having to run about every day to capture a meal keeps them strong but lean.
Coyotes in particular also travel many miles each night hunting, often 10 or more miles, and coyotes seeking territories might travel 30 or 40 miles at a stretch. They move in a steady, rhythmic trot that conserves energy. Their light weight means they do not need to burn extra calories carrying excess weight and they do not need to eat a lot of extra food to maintain a heavy build. Next time you see a fox in your neighborhood or a coyote darting across the street, remember the fox is smaller than most housecats and though the coyote might look like a 75lb shepherd, he or she is a much smaller, leaner, 30 lbs or so small canine!
Coyotes (and fox) are in their courtship and breeding season now through March, so expect to occasionally see them in daylight and hear them yipping, howling or barking at night. Coyotes will dart off when they spot a human or if a person moves toward or shouts at them. To prevent problems with coyotes and pets, keep pets on a lead and close to you especially at dawn and dusk.
If you encounter a coyote that does not move away promptly, avoid the animal and move to a safe place by backing away and keeping your eye on the animal. This may be a sick or injured coyote. Call the Dublin Police Department at 614.889.1112 to report a possibly sick or injured animal. You may also call the Nature Education Coordinator, Barbara Ray, at 614.410.4730, for more information on sightings or behavior of wildlife in your area and for tips on peacefully coexisting with the wildlife in our community.