U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Rural and Small Town Living
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-05-2012, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,778 posts, read 6,687,318 times
Reputation: 8303

Advertisements

I know, I know, this is probably a dumb question and I've Googled this topic no end, and it seems to me that unless you are too close to the animal, it might be impossible to tell whether it is a wolf or a coyote?

To make a long story short, this area is not known for either coyotes or wolves, and I've only ever seen animals others have identified as coyotes in other places at far distances and to me it looked like it could be anything.

But this year, as I was going out to the horse pasture, I spotted what I thought was a coyote flying by, tail straight, tannish blending-into-wheat-coloured grass colour. Thinking it was the first coyote that I've ever seen here, I rounded the corner, thinking to see the tail end disappearing out the other end of the pasture. Instead I found the horses backed against the barn door and the coyote sitting about 25 feet away.

I thought he would run when he saw me but he didn't. I thought maybe he was sick and so I took a few steps towards him since I've always heard that coyotes are small, a bit bigger than foxes. And I know what foxes look like.

When I took a few steps in his direction, he got up and took an equal number of steps back. We did this dance for maybe 15 minutes and he showed no fear or anything obviously aggressive other than the fact that he didn't run. No hackles raised, nothing.

I let the horses into the barn, thinking the opening and the closing of the barn door would surely sent the coyote away but when I ducked out the door, he was still there, lying down. And the whole time I'm thinking he looks a lot bigger than I thought coyotes were.

Because he was maybe 25 feet away, I saw his sides looked as though they had thick hair, grey and greyish white mottled with a bit of tawny. I talked to him and he would **** his ears at me and they seemed the same size as my GSDs.

I started getting a little nervous suddenly, because, for example, when you look at a fox, you know that a fox isn't going to be able to kill you. But when I looked at this animal, from the size, I suddenly appeared to myself to be very killable.

Anyway, he got up after a few minutes and took off across the field, not like he was scared or in a hurry, but like he had business to attend to and I was not it.

Since then I've seen him more than half a dozen times on the field. Once my 100 pound GSD went out after him, and by now I was afraid this animal might be a wolf, so I went tearing after my GSD. My GSD was within 10 feet of him so I got a size comparison. This coyote was taller but looked lighter. My husband also witnessed this.

He showed no fear of my GSD but stood there like a king or something. I've since watched him through binoculars. He has reddish colouring on the back of his ears and the same colour of reddish between his ears to his nose. The underside of his tail is black. But he has some kind of tawny colouring to him that when he sits still, unless you know where he is, he blends in so completely as to be invisible.

I have talked to neighbours, and two neighbours reported sighting the same animal. One was a farmer coming out early in the morning and found himself 5 feet away from this animal that showed no fear and stood there 'like he owned the place.' He described the animal as being bigger than a GSD. By the time he got his gun, the animal had disappeared.

The other neighbour spotted what she described as 'a very large coyote' in the ditch when she was driving.

I know a thick coat can make animals seem bigger than they are though.

So what is this animal? Could this possibly be a lone wolf? Is there any way of for sure telling what kind of an animal it is? I don't have a very good camera so my long distance shots of this animal are not clear enough. And the shot wouldn't show his size anyway. His head does not appear to be abnormally big. To me, the length of his snout and ears looks like my GSDs.

I should add that after the incident in the horse pasture, I found and measured one perfect paw print and it was more than four inches long.

According to websites, coyotes here range from 25 - 35 pounds. This is farm (grain) land, not bush land, although we have a ten acre bush area on our property. Not a single farmer has had any livestock killed even though there are sheep with lambs, and cows with calves in the pastures all around here. Which one would think would be easier prey than 1100 pound horses, if that is what he was interested in.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-05-2012, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,783 posts, read 11,265,215 times
Reputation: 19764
Coyote - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gray wolf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The article states that northern coyotes can reach 75 pounds. However, that's less than half of what a grown wolf can weigh. It's harder to distinguish any animal from a distance but coyotes and wolves really don't look the same.

Here's another possibility.

Coywolf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I suggest that you find a zoo or animal preserve where you can see both. Watch them for a while and you shouldn't be in doubt again.

I have frequently seen coyotes on my property; and there are wolves in my area. Coyotes in this area do not seem to be a problem for large animals. In Colorado dog packs are known to have killed many horses. These are often pets who are allowed to run without supervision.

Coyotes are very curious and plenty of them have gotten in trouble because of this. They're known to join hikers for a stroll and to play with domestic dogs. But they are wild animals; they don't view humans as gods.

Loud noises often drive wild animals away. Firing a gun and even blowing a loud whistle have worked.

I have one last thought. Try to take a picture of the animal and show it to your neighbors; it could be someone's dog or an abandoned dog.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,778 posts, read 6,687,318 times
Reputation: 8303
I've looked at those websites and I'm still ambivalent. I think when they say northern coyotes can reach 75 pounds, they are referring to much further north than I am. I did call Manitoba Conservation and they say coyotes here are the smaller size. I have neighbours and BILs who are hunters who have hunted coyotes and they say that they have never come across a coyote bigger than a GSD. At least not bigger than mine.

A dog also occurred to me until I saw him through the binoculars. I am positive this is not a dog. I see him regularly hunting through our shelter belt.

I'm not necessarily concerned about a single coyote depending on how he acts and where he stays. He has not ventured near the house or on the yard site itself. But it's driving me completely crazy not knowing what this animal is for sure - I don't like the thought of how I maybe chased a wolf out onto the field.

I also thought maybe he was an eastern wolf - apparently they are a bit smaller than grey wolves and larger than coyotes and they are thought to exist in this province, but it isn't known for a fact.

Since chasing my dog and the animal, I've since seen my GSD being quite friendly with him - they appear to know each other. The animal itself doesn't act playful even when my female GSD acts playful - he acts aloof and king-like.

I guess I may never know for sure then. Bummer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,783 posts, read 11,265,215 times
Reputation: 19764
Can you take a picture? If you can and post it here as well as show it to the Manitoba wildlife people you'll be able to find out.

Here's another idea. Call to him. If he comes to you you'll have your answer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
16,781 posts, read 10,697,531 times
Reputation: 29751
My vote would also be a stray dog. Ever seen it at night?

If you can't get a decent photo (preferable) maybe do a plaster cast of the paw print?

any clue is better than a verbal description. Not to be offensive but perceptions are vague. And there is a distinct difference between the 2 animals. If you really can't tell, it's probably neither.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,734,442 times
Reputation: 3364
Don't let appearances and hunting behavior fool you... this could still very well be a dog or dog/coyote/wolf mix. My akita/malamute is frequently mistaken for a wolf, and particularly resembles the red wolf (which doesn't exist this far north). When she's running through the trees or chasing it rabbits, it's nearly impossible to distinguish her from the wolves and coyotes that also inhabit this area.

In general, you can identify a few characteristics at a distance to help distinguish between a dog, wolf or coyote. Coyotes and wolves tend to have longer/thinner legs in comparison to torso and longer/thinner muzzles in comparison to skull than similar dogs; wolves in particular look almost knock-kneed. Nearly all wolf-like dogs have a curled tail, or at least an upturned or uplifted tail, wolves and coyotes have straight tails and they normally carry it lowered when they are happy/relaxed and raise it only during hunting or fighting. Coyotes tend to have larger ears in comparison to skull than wolves, lack the thick shoulder/neck scruff that wolves have, have shorter bushier tails, and their legs are often shorter than their body is long (a wolf's leg length is nearly the same as his body length).

And, of course, there is the vocalizations. Dogs, wolves and coyotes sound different in most cases and situations, similar but different. My dog doesn't sound like the wolves when she howls no matter how much she tries to sing with them, and her bark and yip sounds nothing like the coyotes when she tries to play with them... even though malamutes are known for sounding more similar to wild canids than other domestic dogs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDkIH...eature=related
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
16,781 posts, read 10,697,531 times
Reputation: 29751
something I thought of a while ago-if it is a coyote, I'd keep your dog away. Around here (NE PA) one coyote has been known to make friends with a dog, then lure it off to play-into the rest of the coyote pack as dinner.

From what missingall4seasons said, maybe they don't do that everywhere.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,734,442 times
Reputation: 3364
Well, my dog outweighs the local coyotes by about 40 lbs, and we have wolves as well so the coyotes aren't so bold because they aren't the top of the canine food chain, and we don't have a large coyote population in AK yet. Under other circumstances, I would definitely keep my dog away from coyotes. Here, it's the wolves we have to worry about luring our dogs away and killing them, particularly the smaller and non-sled-dog breeds. With my big very wolfish pooch, I'd be more worried about the wolves trying to breed her (if she weren't fixed) or turning her feral because those happen frequently with sled dogs up here.

The wolves up here are shy around humans. They tend to avoid humans and human places, but if encountered are generally just cautious. For instance, they do cross our land between creeks, but they stick to the edge of our clearing and we've never seen any prints near any of our buildings. The coyotes aren't as shy and tend to dart in and out of our property whenever and wherever, and normally hang around nearby if we're outside instead of running away. Both species will bolt if they can if we confront them on our home turf though... no way would either of them calmly hang out in our barn while we walked toward them. I've only experienced the sort of behavior you're describing in a coy-dog or wolf-dog, or a juvenile that has spent a lot of quality bonding time with dogs (either currently domestic or turned feral).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,778 posts, read 6,687,318 times
Reputation: 8303
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
Don't let appearances and hunting behavior fool you... this could still very well be a dog or dog/coyote/wolf mix. My akita/malamute is frequently mistaken for a wolf, and particularly resembles the red wolf (which doesn't exist this far north). When she's running through the trees or chasing it rabbits, it's nearly impossible to distinguish her from the wolves and coyotes that also inhabit this area.

In general, you can identify a few characteristics at a distance to help distinguish between a dog, wolf or coyote. Coyotes and wolves tend to have longer/thinner legs in comparison to torso and longer/thinner muzzles in comparison to skull than similar dogs; wolves in particular look almost knock-kneed. Nearly all wolf-like dogs have a curled tail, or at least an upturned or uplifted tail, wolves and coyotes have straight tails and they normally carry it lowered when they are happy/relaxed and raise it only during hunting or fighting. Coyotes tend to have larger ears in comparison to skull than wolves, lack the thick shoulder/neck scruff that wolves have, have shorter bushier tails, and their legs are often shorter than their body is long (a wolf's leg length is nearly the same as his body length).

And, of course, there is the vocalizations. Dogs, wolves and coyotes sound different in most cases and situations, similar but different. My dog doesn't sound like the wolves when she howls no matter how much she tries to sing with them, and her bark and yip sounds nothing like the coyotes when she tries to play with them... even though malamutes are known for sounding more similar to wild canids than other domestic dogs.


Malamutes talking to each other - YouTube
It's not a dog. I know all the dogs here. This animal has a straight tail, no curl in it. When it is trotting the tail is carried low - the two times I saw it in a full run the tail was straight out behind it. From what I've read, coyotes carry their tails low and wolves can carry it high. But I didn't get from the reading I've done whether a coyote running flat out will still carry it's tail low.

It has a thick ruff around the neck. I've never heard it make a sound. My dog has interacted with it at night.

Googling images of grey wolves, I've come across a couple that resemble most the animal I saw rather than the coyote images I've viewed. Oh, and my dogs are neutered.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-05-2012, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,778 posts, read 6,687,318 times
Reputation: 8303
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
Can you take a picture? If you can and post it here as well as show it to the Manitoba wildlife people you'll be able to find out.

Here's another idea. Call to him. If he comes to you you'll have your answer.

I did that - I called to him telling him he was a good boy, and all other kinds of "my what big teeth you have, grandma," nonsense. Won't come to me. Doesn't act scared of me. Just cautiously, regally aloof. I got a little afraid that one day and so I grabbed a rake just to have something in my hand and although I made sure nothing in my body language changed - I didn't raise my voice or shout - as soon as he saw I had something in my hand he immediately took off - not like a bat out of hell but very fast and determinedly. I felt as though he associated the rake handle with a gun. I think he has been shot at.

I have taken photos but I don't think they are very good. I was hoping to get something better to post. Maybe I'll get a better camera.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Rural and Small Town Living
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top