December 16, 2012 Posted by: BW - Volunteer Interpreter

Canis latrans

The fresh layer of snow in the Valley has brought out the coyotes. Several have been spotted over the past few days, roving around in search of food. The series of photographs pictured here show a classic hunting tactic. The coyote will walk through a snow covered meadow, listening very carefully for the sound of small mammals moving underneath the snow. Pausing, it listens intently, checking the exact location of its unwary prey by making small adjustments to the listening angle. When it has pinpointed the prey, it leaps into the air, descending face first into the snow in an attempt to get its next meal. While this is extremely entertaining to watch, especially when the snow is deeper, the coyote's success at this skill will impact how well it survives this winter.

Coyote stalking sequence in a snow-covered Yosemite Valley meadow.

Coyote searching for small mammals beneath a layer of snow in Yosemite Valley.

BW, Nature Scene, Yosemite Valley

Last updated: December 20, 2012

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