The Nature of Coyotes: Voice of the Wilderness


143 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55054-138-2
DDC 599.74'442






Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


Among Canadian publications on carnivores in North America this year,
those on wolves doubtless hold the lead, but this new contribution
commendably brings attention to coyotes. The introduction provides an
overview of prominent features of their lifestyle, including vocal
habits, diet, and crepuscular hunting. The three chapters consider
coyotes as a natural species, and in relation to humans and to common
sense. Aspects of natural history are well covered, including origins,
changes in range, variation, and adaptability. Comparison with other
canids is achieved by examining pack life, denning, territoriality,
communication (especially by scent and howling), courtship, mating, and
raising pups.

The human perspective on coyotes is analyzed in terms of Native legends
and the hostile campaigns of European immigrants. The ferocity of these
eradication programs, with their debasing hatred, makes strong reading,
and one cannot but give a savage cheer for the coyote, captured and
bound with lit dynamite that ran beneath the truck of its assailant.
Common sense addresses the resilience of the species, its real impact as
opposed to its reputation, the counterproductivity of most programs,
misunderstanding about significant prey, political and economic
dimensions, and an appreciation of nature as an integrated web of

The clear and direct prose, spiced with appropriate personal
experiences and quotes, presents much information easily. The
photographs—some dramatic, others redundant—are excellent. The
further-reading list and index are useful, and the compositional layout
is generous. The book is an excellent and attractive introduction to


Grady, Wayne., “The Nature of Coyotes: Voice of the Wilderness,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,