What Should I Do If I Find an Orphaned or Abandoned Coyote?
Imagine strolling in your neighborhood. Suddenly, you see coyote pups cramped up in a corner. You hone in to see these little and cute creatures looking dejected. Suddenly, a thought crosses your mind, “Wouldn’t harm come to these abandoned pups?”, “What should I do?”. As humans, our instinct is to try to help them. But is this the right way to act?
At the end of this post, you will know what to do if this imagination becomes a reality.
Are They Truly Abandoned?
Life in the wild is nothing like we’re accustomed to. It’s much more unpredictable in terms of food supply and security. Parents often leave their pups for an extended period in search of food. The mother, in particular, needs this so that they can provide nutritious milk to her pups. The parents will usually visit the den two or three times a day, calling on their pups and providing the necessary care. Therefore, in 99 percent of the cases where people think the pups are abandoned, this is usually the reason.
Moreover, coyote dens are extremely secretive to reduce the likelihood of a threat. Once the location is compromised, coyotes relocate their pups to avoid attacks from other predators. It is not uncommon for coyotes to move their pups one by one to a new den site. During this relocation phase, it’s likely you will find a young coyote alone.
What do all these tell us? More often than not, they are not abandoned or orphaned. Therefore, the best course of action is to leave them alone! Picking them up might be kidnapping them. Staying too close to them for too long can deter their parents from coming to them due to your unwarranted presence.
Coyotes have excellent parents that take care of them. They are also cared for by other pack members. With their parents, they stand a greater chance of picking up the skills they need for survival in the wild. Unfortunately, although rehabilitation centers can take care of their physical needs, they cannot train the pups on how to fend for themselves in terms of hunting and interacting with other wildlife.
Does this mean that if you see an injured, famished, shivering coyote you should just leave it alone? Of course not. In cases where there are obvious signs of deprivation, you should contact your local wildlife center. It is against the law to take care of coyotes yourself, therefore, keeping wild animals can get you in legal trouble.
However, if you encounter a pup that appears cold or injured, may be covered with ants, flies, maggots, and is languished, you should rescue it and immediately contact the rehabilitation center. If it appears cold, try to keep it warm as hypothermia is a life-threatening condition for a pup. However, never feed the animal food or liquids. Doing this can cause more harm than good if they are fed improperly or with the wrong food or at the wrong time. When they get to the rehabilitation center, they will be well cared for.
A pup’s best chance of survival is to be raised by its natural parents in the wild. Therefore, resist the urge to ‘save’ it as it might not be abandoned. However, if it looks injured and appears to have been abandoned for days, immediately call your local wildlife control center. You’ll then be directed on how to proceed.