Social and Play Behavior in a Wild Eastern Coyote, Canis latrans, Pack


  • Jonathan G. Way Science Department, Barnstable High School, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis Massachusetts 02601



Canis latrans, eastern Coyote, amiable/affiliative interactions, play behavior, Massachusetts


I had close and consistent observations of a wild eastern Coyote pack (Canis latrans) from January 2000 to August 2007. During this time, I obtained 3156 radio-locations on a specific radio-collared breeding male (“Sill”) and observed him and/or members of his pack on 375 occasions. The average group size = 3.0 ± 2.3 (SD) Coyotes with 1.9 ± 1.2 (SD) being adults and 1.1 ± 1.9 being pups. Maximal group size involved 12 Coyotes (9 pups, 3 adults). During these observations, Coyotes most often behaved in a friendly manner toward each other as indicated by 80 of my observations involving play between pups, and 15 involving play among adult Coyotes. On the evening of 6 July 2007 I observed the breeding male (>8 yr old), his mate (>5 yr old), one of their full-sized probable yearlings, and five pups playing intensely for 33 minutes. This paper details social and play behavior from this pack, especially from the 6 July 2007 observation.