|Two Essays by Coyote
||[Aug. 8th, 2004|05:12 pm]
Coyote gave me an assignment through my shaman mentor: a page and a half each reports on jackrabbits and coyote hunting habits. Coyote was eager to help write them (and I don't mean "help" sarcastically because he really did help, and I assume they turned out the way he wanted them to, so what do I care about the format?). He wanted everyone here to see them too.
Jackrabbits come in a couple different types. So far I've found white-tailed and black-tailed. The black-tailed jackrabbits are the most prevalent, and they are found in the southwest and Texas and probably California. They like hot desert and scrubland. They especially like overgrazed land for some reason. So if you have too many cows and they eat too much, then you'll get a bunch of black-tailed jackrabbits adding to the habitat destruction. Which doesn't really make much sense, but there you go. They think that they're so fast that they like the open range, cuz then they see predators coming and can hop away. This is stupid, as they still get eaten. By coyotes and some other animals, like foxes and bobcats and badgers and weasels and some really big, strong birds of prey.
There are also white-tailed jackrabbits, and they really like their space, so they're going extinct. They like to hide in the snow, when there's snow, and then the coyote or whatever is right on top of them and then they spring out and try to run away. Which is also stupid, because then they get eaten too. A lot of jackrabbits get eaten. So it's a good thing that they breed like, well, rabbits. They have 2-6 litters a year if they're black and 3-4 if they're white. Probably. The scientists just guess about whites cuz they're not as much around anymore. It's all about the black-tailed jackrabbits, really. The whites are just freaks because they can't even forage well, so it sucks to be them when the grazing land goes. The blacks are much better at foraging and just overall living. We're going to stop talking about the white ones now because they're boring.
Oh, and I didn't mention it, but it should be obvious, that jackrabbits are vegetarians slash herbivores. They have really good hearing because of their freakishly long ears (5 inches). They weigh 3-6 pounds and they run really fast (but not fast enough!) and don't come all the way down on their hind legs, so their tracks are misleadingly small. The black jackrabbits like to flash their tail to warn other rabbits that they're going to be eaten soon. They also thump their freakishly long back legs on the ground also to let people know they're going to be eaten, so don't save a carrot for Flopsy. Oh, snakes like to eat them, too. And they like to come out at night cuz they think they're safe then, but other animals hunt at night, so it really doesn't make much sense, especially for the white ones.
The black ones eat clover and Alfalfa, which doesn't make sense if they're vegetarians, but I suppose small children are tasty to anybody. That was a joke, I know they don't really eat Little Rascals. They eat clover and little-a alfalfa and also crops, grasses, herbs, cactus (ouch!), woody and dried vegetation (winter), and sagebrush and mesquite and ooh, I miss the desert now.
When they are born, they are small and tasty, but they get big and tasty once they are 7-8 months old and then they're fun to hunt cuz they're young and dumb and not at all wily. And then they can start having baby rabbits at a little over a year old. They like to nest in shady, wind-reduced places like the bases of plants and maybe in the tall grass. The black ones, I mean. The white ones live where it's all cold and harsh, which is why they're all dead.
The Mammals of Texas
Royal BC Museum
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Coyotes like to eat sheeps and chickens and sometimes people and whatever else they can get their paws on. They will eat carrion and trash and babies and especially chickens. They really like chickens. And rabbits. Mmm, jackrabbits. Coyotes don't eat ungulates, the things with all those stomachs, that much, unless there's a weak old sick one somewhere, cuz everything else is just so much easier to kill.
Coyotes come out at dusk to hunt and do other stuff. Sometimes they hunt together and sometimes they hunt alone. They're really good at keeping populations down and from getting out of control, but sometimes people don't see it that way and blame them for killing delicious, fat livestock that was just sitting there looking fat. And sometimes they did it, too, but sometimes it's wolves or wild dogs. You can tell when a coyote got his teeth on something because the tooth marks are very distinctive. If it's really little, they will swallow it whole. But there's nothing like sinking your fangs into a fat, timid sheep and squishing their blood everywhere and howling and…where was I?
Humans get upset with all the sheep-eating though. Your very own government has a program since 1931 just to kill as many coyotes as possible. Plus all the redneck ranchers try to get rid of them, too. But it doesn't work, because coyotes are very wily and adaptable and you can't keep a good dog down. Not like those stupid wolves who almost got hunted to death. Your government gives them special land and weaves them security blankets and yells at people who shoot wolves. And then they turn around and shoot coyotes, like we're doing something the wolves wouldn't do. But coyotes are better survivors than wolves. Which means humans try to kill us on purpose instead of breeding us. Here, check out what this Audubon guy had to say:
When killing a certain species becomes a matter of human policy and concerted effort, the fight is almost always one-sided. Passenger pigeons, grizzly bears, gray wolves, blue whales -- all have been brought to extinction, or to the brink of extinction, with ease. Coyotes pose a different challenge altogether. Despite almost a century of uninterrupted killing, despite increasingly sophisticated hunting methods, despite hundreds of millions of government dollars devoted to coyote removal, today more coyotes are living in more places than ever before. And coyotes are spreading not just in ranching country but in metropolises nationwide, from the suburbs of Los Angeles to the streets of New York City.
- the Audubon guy
We totally rock! And although we scuffle, we don't kill and eat each other, unlike wolves. And, oh! This quote is even better!!!:
An all-too-human hubris keeps us from admitting that we have met our match in coyotes, that they have outsmarted us for 100 years and will continue to do so. A powerful minority of Americans wants them dead, and so we keep killing them. The government-funded slaughter and the killing contests will continue. But coyotes -- ever faster, ever stronger, still yipping and howling at the moon -- will prevail. "Coyotes," Crabtree says, "are the ultimate icon of success and defiance of humans who think they can control nature."
- the Audubon guy again
So, also, since coyotes hunt little bitty things like rodents, they keep the population under control. So if the humans actually managed to knock the coyotes off, you'd have about a zillion voles running around, and what do you think voles would do to sheep, hmm? Or at least to their grazing land? So, see, coyotes hunt little things and keep them in check. Coyotes also hunt big things, cuz they're yummy. And if the humans didn't eat so many sheep, the coyotes would have to keep the sheep population in check themselves, so really they're only trying to help. And then humans hunt coyotes, and they think they're good at it, but they're not, cuz coyote populations actually INCREASE when you try to kill them, because they're really wily. They're very protective of pups and give them more food when the adults are knocked off, so the pups are even bigger and stronger. So the more coyotes you kill, the more you have. And that's why we're the bestest tricksiest species in the world.
The Audubon Guy
"The Ultimate Survivor" by Mike Finkle
Fish and Wildlife Today
"Coyotes are Here to Stay" by Tom Conroy
The Mammals of Texas
Shagbark Ridge Llamas
"The Voice of the Coyote" by J. Frank Dobie (actual book)