When out and about on our beautifully-scenic Cook Forest hiking trails and State Park areas, keep your eyes peeled for a familiar Pennsylvania guest, the Eastern Coyote. Since the late 1930’s, the domestic Eastern coyote has been a guest of the northern populations of Pennsylvania, ever since it migrated in from the Catskill Mountains-area of New York. With their expansion in the 1960’s, several species have been located in virtually all of Pennsylvania’s counties, with the heaviest concentrations being in the norther areas of the state.
Weighing in at 45-55 lbs. for a male, and 35-40 lbs. as a female, Pennsylvania’s coyote population is considerably larger than most of the common coyotes in the United States, also referred to as the ‘Western Coyote’ species. An Eastern Coyote outweighs the western variety by 10 lbs. on average, which scientists believe is due to the cross-breading that occurs between coyotes and wolves, as well as a coyotes own DNA lineage. At 48-60 inches long, these coyote will travel up to a 100 mile range for food, but mainly just when their area is over-populated with other coyotes. Several Pennsylvania metropolitan areas have seen a sharp increase in coyote sightings, signaling the hunting efforts to keep their overpopulation in check are actually failing.
Although Coyotes are directly related to human dogs, they are almost guaranteed to not get along. With a top speed of up to 40mph, and an age range of 10-14 years old, these hunters have no problems with harassing dogs, typically smaller than their own size when hunting alone. Coyotes will antagonize and attack prey larger than them, but are only known to do so when attacking in a pack. It is recommended to keep your animal on a leash or in close proximity while exploring our beautiful Cook Forest area, as to protect them from potential attacks from the coyote population. Coyotes are widely-known to drag smaller dogs and kittens off, so it is advised to keep a close eye when outside with your pets!