What Does it Mean When Coyotes Howl Alone or Together?
Have you ever heard a coyotes howl? It’s a sound unlike any other, especially if you are unfamiliar with the animal or its calls. Whether alone or in a group, the howl of a coyote is one of the most compelling sounds that can be heard in the wild.
Chances are good that if you have heard one coyote call out then you have most likely heard others respond. A pack of coyotes gives the night a chorus unlike any other animal. So this brings us to the question:
What does it mean when a coyote begins to howl?
The answer to this question is by no means a simple one, and can best be explained in several steps.The first thing to consider is just how many coyotes are calling out and what sounds they are making. The calls of one coyote can mean different things than the calls of a pack.
The sound of the calls is also important to consider. Some sounds resemble a dog barking or a muffled whine while others can be the widely known wolf howl. Depending on the noise you hear, the animal in question is conveying some very distinct information.
A Single Lone Call
This is the most iconic of all coyote calls. The one lone howl that seems to come out of nowhere is a sound familiar to most people.If you hear a single lone call from only one animal, chances are what you are hearing is a single member of a pack attempting to locate other members. Coyotes are very social animals and will often seek out other members from their group. If you hear one call, pause and wait for the response. It will be there.
- It is important to recognize that not all coyotes belong to one pack. Coyotes generally live in families with two alpha animals (male and female) and their offspring. Most packs stay in this manner until the offspring leave the den and head out on their own.
- If you hear a single coyote call and it receives a rapid response from others, you may be hearing several different things. You may be hearing the response to a returning pack animal or an intruder in the area. These response sounds are very distinct to a trained ear, but can be lost when multiple animals join in.
A Group Chorus
If you hear a chorus of coyotes in the distance, what you are hearing are members of a single pack converging together. The reasons they can have for making these types of noises can range from greeting one another to displays of dominance and unity.
The group chorus is often times a method used by a pack to mark their territory. An unfamiliar coyote who calls out in a pack’s territory may receive the chorus response in return. This announces to the stranger that this space is taken and they need to leave.
Rapid Yelping Calls
Another call that coyotes can make is a series of rapid yelping calls. These sounds are often made in response to a coyote being startled or a pup in distress. They are a loud call and are more drawn out. Think if you have ever heard a dog begin to yelp and you will know this noise.
This is also a popular call one may hear if they or a predator were to travel too close to a coyote den. Often times, parent coyotes will flee their den when a threat is perceived and will make rapid yelping calls in order to distract and draw the threat away from their den and potential offspring.
These sounds are distinctly different from the rapid yelping call mentioned above. They are made in quick succession and are extremely high pitched. Often times, you may hear coyotes make noises similar to this if they are hunting something as a group.
So what does it All Mean?
Whenever you hear a coyote, it is clear that this animal is saying something.If you should hear a coyote, try to take these steps:
- Listen for distinct animals (if possible)
- Do your best to locate the direction of the sound
- Know you are generally not in danger!
So what are your experiences? Have you ever encountered this elusive animal or heard its cry at night? Do you have something to share or a question about coyote calling that wasn’t answered here? If so, please feel free to comment below!
Check Coyote Pack Howl: