Homeowners in several subdivisions in Clay have reported sightings of coyotes roaming the streets. Coyotes are nocturnal carnivores whose diet consists mostly of rabbits, rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, fish, insects and, potentially, the family pet.
Because coyotes feed mostly on smaller prey, their family unit usually consists of a small group centered around a reproductive female. Non related coyotes may pack together temporarily however for companionship or to hunt larger prey.
Families are formed in midwinter when a female chooses her “true love” from the males currently courting her. Being monogamous, once her choice of mate is known, the rejected males move on in search of unattached females.
The mated coyote pair constructs a den soon after establishing their territory. The male coyote will frequently hunt their territory alone bringing back food for his pregnant mate. After approximately 2 months, when the litter of six or so pups arrives, the male will assist with the rearing of the young. The den is typically abandoned in June or July at which time the pups will follow the adults while patrolling and hunting their territory for another two months or longer.
Coyotes are often attracted to a yard because of pet food, garbage, fish ponds, bird feeders or squirrel feeders. Though not particularly interested in the bird or squirrel food itself, coyotes do prey on birds and squirrels.