Coyotes at Mount Auburn

December 10, 2011

Coyote Siblings at Mount Auburn, December 2011 Photo by John “Garp” Harrison

Coyotes have lived harmoniously around Mount Auburn and the neighboring Charles River for many years. Mount Auburn Cemetery is aware of coyotes living on our grounds today.  They have posed no threat to Mount Auburn visitors, though one should be aware of their presence while exploring.  Young coyotes are less fearful of humans and often observed during daylight hours. Please observe these coyotes, and all wildlife, from a safe distance.

“The eastern coyote stands 23 to 26 inches tall with a body length of 42 to 52 inches, including a 12 to 15 inch bushy tail. Males are slightly larger than the females. In Massachusetts, females average thirty pounds and males average thirty-five pounds.

Except for their size, male and female coyotes look alike; both have long, dense fur which varies in color from grizzled gray to yellowish gray. The hair on the back is a mixture of gray, black and buff, with more black on the tail and less on the under parts and head. They resemble a German shepherd in appearance, but have pointed ears that stand erect, a more pointed muzzle and a very bushy tail which hangs down in a vertical position rather than horizontally as with the tail of a wolf or fox.

Coyotes are an adaptable species, at home in a variety of habitats: open fields, thickets, marshes and woodlands. Their dens, which are occupied for the purpose of giving birth are located on slopes, banks, or rocky ledges and are often hidden under downed trees, stumps, or in culverts. Although capable of digging their own den, they frequently enlarge abandoned burrows of woodchucks, foxes, or skunks.

There have only been 4 coyote attacks on humans in Massachusetts since they were first confirmed in the state in the 1950s. Dogs, on the other hand, have attacked and killed 43 humans in the United States between January, 2010 and September, 2011. Coyotes have a healthy fear of humans and just want to be left alone.”

Excerpt from Mass Audubon’s page on Living with Wildlife: Coyotes.

Photos by John “Garp” Harrison.



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