Have you ever seen one of these:
It looks like a dog, right? Maybe a German Shepherd? But, if you guessed coyote, you’re right! Coyotes roam throughout Nebraska, but really like the western area of the state. They’re highly adaptable, though. You might have heard about the Chicago Coyotes. You can read about the research on urban coyotes by clicking that link.
Coyotes are opportunistic carnivores (meat-eaters). They take advantage of seasonal variety. (Food is best when it’s “in season.” I bet you’ve heard your parents say that. Watermelon tastes better in late summer to early fall. Strawberries are awesome in spring and early summer. Apples are a fall crop. You get the idea.) A coyote eats certain animals that are plentiful during the summer like, deer fawns, rabbits and birds, or larger prey during winter. Coyotes aren’t picky eaters. They’re perfectly happy eating leftovers. They’ll also eat some vegetation during spring and summer, since there’s so much available.
Keep an eye on your pet’s food! If you leave it outside, then you’re inviting the coyote to dinner!
If you’re curious about coyotes, you can visit the Nebraska Game and Parks website. You’ll even be able to listen to them howl.
I’m lucky. We live in the country, and I get to hear the pups, and occasionally see an adult coyote walk across our front yard. In fact, one night when we hadn’t been living in our home very long, I heard a sound so strange, I awoke, ran downstairs, and asked my husband what it was. He’d grown up on a farm. When he told me that it was coyote pups, I was fascinated (and a little scared.) Then, I wrote Dante in the Cold, Dark Night. In it, Dante meets a family of coyotes. That same family became the central characters in The Coyote Wars: Radalov’s Vengeance.
I didn’t plan to write a set of stories linking the two worlds; It just worked out that way. So, you’ll be able to read all about Dante’s adventures, and as you become a more adept reader, you’ll be able to continue the adventures with the coyotes. The books will be available in 2015 and 2016.
### What animal fascinates you? Tell me in the comments!