How do they survive in Seattle, and why are they in our backyard? Our apartment abuts on one side with a golf course where coyotes have frequented for 20 years, and the other side consists of sloping brush down to the Burke-Gilman trail. Just beyond the trail is an old military base now called Magnusen Park. Coyotes love to den in ravines, and there are several near our place. They eat rodents and small pets - both menu items abound in Seattle. My guess is that they use the Burke-Gilman trail as a conduit. The wildlife service estimates that there are thousands of coyotes in King County.
Size and appearance: A member of the dog family, it stands about 24 inches at the shoulder, weighs 20-25 pounds and is 3.3 to 4.3 feet long, including its roughly footlong tail. The fur is long, coarse and generally grizzled, buff above and whitish below. It has reddish legs and a bushy, black-tipped tail. There is considerable local variation in size and color.
Characteristics: Noted for nightly serenades of short yaps and mournful howls, it is primarily nocturnal and hunts alone or in relays. Coyotes are intelligent animals with a reputation for cunning and swiftness. They can sometimes attain a speed of 40 mph. They virtually never attack humans.
I will be looking forward this summer to nightly serenades of short yaps and mournful howls.