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Arizona coyote picture and information, Mearns (Canis mearnsi)


Arizona coyote picture and information, Mearns (Canis mearnsi)The Arizona coyote is one of the smallest and at the same time the most handsomely colored of all its kind. Its home is limited to the arid deserts on both sides of the lower Colorado River, but mainly in southwestern Arizona and adjacent parts of Sonora.

This is one of the hottest and most arid regions of the continent, and for coyotes successfully to hold their own there requires the exercise of all the acute intelligence for which they are noted.

Instead of the winter blizzards and biting cold encountered in the home of the plains coyote, this southern species has to endure the furnacelike heat of summer, with occasional long periods of drought, when water-holes become dry, plant life becomes dormant, and a large part of the smaller mammal life perishes.

The Arizona coyote, like others of its kind, is omnivorous. In seasons of plenty, rabbits, kangaroo rats, pocket gophers, and many other desert rodents cost only the pleasant excitement of a short stalk.

With the changing seasons the flesh diet is varied by the sugary mesquite beans, juicy cactus fruit, and other products of thorny desert plants. Wherever sufficient water is available for irrigation, small communities of Indians or Mexicans are to be found.

About such centers many coyotes usually establish themselves and fatten on poultry, green corn, melons, and other fruits provided by the labor of man. Many of them also patrol the shores of the Gulf of California and feast upon the eggs of turtles and other spoils of the sea.

The arrival of men at a desert water-hole is quickly known among these alert foragers, and when the travelers arise at daybreak they are likely to see tell-tale tracks on the sand where one or two coyotes have walked in and out between their sleeping places and all about camp.

Shortly afterward the campers, if inexperienced, may learn that bacon and other food are contraband and always confiscated by these dogs of the desert. These camp marauders often stand among the bushes only 75 or 100 yards away in the morning and watch the intruders with much curiosity until some hostile movement starts them off in rapid flight.