Unwelcome Squatters

Since buying our Littleton, Colorado, farm in 1990, we have often been visited by coyotes; indeed, they killed off our resident foxes several years ago and have lately taken a toll on our cottontail population.  Returning from our trip to California, we noticed that the old fox den beneath our barn had been re-opened and enlarged; we suspected that coyotes had moved in and when coyotes den there is only one reason: pups are expected.

Confirmation was provided yesterday when I observed three coyote pups playing outside the den; how many were inside remains uncertain (6 pups is average).  They will likely be weaned in a week or two and the squatters will move on or simply take up exterior residence on the farm.  We will discourage their stay though they do provide a service when it comes to rodent control; but neighborhood pets, snakes, birds and other wild residents will suffer the consequences of their presence.

We could contact an animal control specialist to trap the squatters but relocation of coyotes is illegal in Colorado so trapping is a death sentence.  Besides, our farm was coyote territory long before we owned it and the dwindling open space in Metro Denver is placing stress on these predators, just as it is on many species of wildlife.  For now, we'll enjoy watching the pups while making sure that mom and dad get the message to move on as soon as possible.