Friday, July 14, 2017

Wild Canids of Mt. Pleasant

Michigan is home to four species of wild canines (Family Canidae):  Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), Coyote (Canis latrans), Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), and Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus).  Of the four, three can be found in Mid-Michigan; the Gray Wolf is currently found only in the Upper Peninsula.  Although I have seen Gray Fox in Isabella County, I have yet to see one in the city of Mt. Pleasant.  I have also not personally seen a Coyote in Mt. Pleasant.  (I have seen at least two in Alma near my house.)  I have witnessed Red Fox in Mt. Pleasant on several occasions.

Red Fox and Coyote have both become infrequent, but regular, sightings on my trail camera.  On the most recent batch of pictures (14 June - 10 July) a Coyote showed up on two separate dates and a Red Fox appeared three separate time.

Coyote pictures:

Although a Coyote showed up on two separate dates, I have only included pics from June 20th.  The Coyote passed through in low light at approximately 4:30AM and then either the same animal (or possible a different one) returned at a little after 7:00AM.

Red Fox pictures:

The Red Fox showed up on camera three times (June 29th, July 2nd, and July 10th). 


I really like how these photos show the size difference between the two species.  If you look at these next two images, the Fox and the Coyote are standing in essentially the same place.  

The Coyote is 1.5 to 2 times the height of the Fox (23-26 inches vs. 14-20 inches).  It might be two or even three times the Fox's weight; average weight for a Coyote is 18-44 lbs vs. 5-30 lbs for a Red Fox.  

Both animals are omnivores and often compete for many food sources.  Despite their size difference, it is rare for a Coyote to kill and eat an adult Red Fox.  They will however eat Fox pups on occasion.

I've finally gotten them to walk in front of the camera during daylight hours, now if I could just get them to turn and face the camera once in a while.

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