No, it’s not “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” but it sure could be.
Even the folks at National Geographic or PBS’ “Nature” would be proud to have the kind of footage our friend Colin Chase of Gray captured recently.
Gray, “the Maine Woodsbooger” as he’s known on YouTube, again demonstrated his knack for amazing camera placement with today’s beautiful footage of a group of coyote pups.
The video shows what appears to be a group of eight young coyotes frolicking and playing outside their den.
“Eastern coyotes typically breed January-March and the adult females give birth two months later to four to eight pups,” said Shevenell Webb, furbearer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“Based on the size, mobility and coordination of the pups, I would estimate their age to be 3 months old when the video was taken,” Webb said. “By that time, the pups are getting weaned from their mother’s milk and eating real food that parents bring back to the den, such as small mammals.”
Webb said the pups look very healthy and well fed. Their transition from playing near the den to living on their own and fending for themselves happens quickly.
“Throughout the summer, the pups will get more and more independent from mom and dad and learn to hunt on their own, dispersing to new areas in the fall,” Webb said.
Chase said the opportunity to observe the coyotes on camera came as a surprise.
“I had a friend reach out to me about a month or so ago saying he had found this den while out hiking. So we went and checked it out,” Chase said.
“I set a cam overlooking it for a few days, as I didn’t want to disturb them too much. Since it was late in the season, not much was really happening,” he said.
Chase is a big fan of hiking into far-flung places in northern and western Maine to set up his cameras. This time, the camera was located much closer to home.
“This den is in southern Maine, right in suburbia,” he said.
“Coyote den sites are usually well-concealed and located in cavities at the base of old trees, rocky outcrops, woodchuck holes, brush piles, or in sandy hillsides,” Webb said.
Thanks again to Colin Chase for another undisturbed look at Maine wildlife and to Shevenell Webb for her insight on the animals. Make sure to subscribe to his Maine Woodsbooger YouTube channel.