A coyote in Monroe

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:50

Bob Mahran provided this photograph of a coyote who appeared last week on Cromwell Hill Road in Monroe. Photo by Bob Mahran The Eastern coyote Once thought of as a symbol of the American West, the coyote has gradually been moving East. The coyote now known as the Eastern coyote is larger than its western counterpart. Eastern males grown to be an average of 40 pounds, which is nearly twice as large as the original western species. DNA testing suggests that the Eastern coyote is actually a wolf/coyote hybrid. Mating between the two species is thought to have occurred as the coyote roamed north into Canada, then gradually headed east. Female wolves will not mate with male coyotes, but male wolves are less fastidious about inter-species mating. In recent decades, the Eastern coyote has colonized New England, including Cape Cod. Sightings now regularly occur in Westchester County. Last weekend, a female Eastern coyote was shot by police in Rye Brook after attacking a toddler, her father and a teenager. That coyote tested positive for rabies, the first confirmed case of rabies in a coyote in the county, according to the Westchester County Department of Health. Based on the above photo taken in Monroe, the Eastern coyote is now apparently making the move into southern Orange County. The suburbs are a last frontier for the coyote. Ecologically, Orange County is a hospitable environment because coyotes do well in habitats where wooded and cleared areas mingle. Orange County is also teeming with Eastern coyote prey such as deer and small mammals, including dogs and cats. Information for this brief came from a variety of online sources, including The Journal News.