Coyotes in Virginia

coyotes have adapted to live in swamps, forests, deserts, and a wide variety of ecosystems
coyotes have adapted to live in swamps, forests, deserts, and a wide variety of ecosystems
Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Coyote in the cattails

Coyotes migrated from the western states into Virginia, reaching it by the 1990's. They came via a northern route above the Great Lakes and then south from Canada, and via a southern route from Texas. The Mid-Atlantic states were the last that the coyotes reached.

Coyotes are highly adapable to different ecosystes. Their gene pool is varied, with over 20subspecies identified. Today coyotes live in every county, and probably in every Virginia city.1

Coyotes are often blamed for a reduction in the local deer population, especially from predation on fawns. Other mammals eat deer too, especially bear and bobcats. Coyotes do reduce the number of deer, but other predators - plus weather and habitat conditions - are greater factors in changing the size of deer populations.

Coyote scat often includes evidence of deer, but that could be from feeding on deer carcasses rather than killing live animals. The basic conclusion of wildlife biologists is that the significance of coyote predation varies substantially in different places, while the vast majority of deer hunters blame coyotes for smaller deer herds.2

Links

References

1. "Living with Coyotes near your home in Virginia," Virginia Division of Wildlife, The Roanoke Times, March 18, 2019, https://roanoke.com/news/local/woym-wily-profilic-coyotes-are-here-to-stay-in-virginia/article_49ed6268-6bda-5214-92d6-52bde8bf72b5.html; Bruce Ingram, "What Impact Do Coyotes Have on Virginia鈥檚 Deer?," Virginia Department of Wildlife, https://dwr.virginia.gov/blog/what-impact-do-coyotes-have-on-virginias-deer/ (last checked September 4, 2020)
2. Matt Knox, "Random Thoughts and Observations on Coyotes," Virginia Department of Wildlife, https://dwr.virginia.gov/blog/random-thoughts-and-observations-on-coyotes/ (last checked September 4, 2020)


Habitats and Species
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