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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The nose smelling system of Coyotes, Wolves and Domestic Dogs is akin to the taste sensations that our human tongues elicits"........."All canids almost 'lick' the air to pick up a scent that we humans would not be able to detect at all".............In fact, Coyotes, Wolves and Dogs sense of smell is a hundred to millions of times more sensitive than our human sense of smell"

Strong Sense of Smell

Recently I’ve observed two incidents of a coyote using its strong sense of smell. In the first incident, the coyote appeared to be looking for something. This coyote trotted back and forth, looking around. Finally, it stuck its nose up high, as if reading the wind, and headed off to where the trees become thick. The coyote disappeared into this area for a few minutes, and then, two coyotes emerged! So the coyote had been looking for its friend! After finding him, the coyote waited for the other to come with him.

 Most domestic dogs have an extremely strong sense of smell, and a coyote’s appears to be stronger. I was told that part of the nose smelling system of these animals is really much closer to our human tongues: that the animals almost “lick” the air to pick up a scent that we humans would not be able to detect at all. I once sat about 70 feet off of a path in a wooded area where a number of dogs came to check me out — they could only have found me by smell. The first six photos belong to this first instance of a coyote using its sense of smell.
The second incident was more interesting. A coyote evaded a woman and her leashed dog coming down the path that the coyote was on by moving off the path about 30 feet into an area protected by bushes. The coyote did not hide — we all could see it; and the coyote kept its eyes glued on the dog and walker.  After the walkers had moved on about 150 feet, the coyote came back to the path where it watched them walk off into the distance. Then the coyote proceeded to “sniff” the ground where the walkers had trod, as if seeing them walk by had not been enough — it needed to gather more information about them through smell. After a substantial amount of time doing this, the coyote walked in the opposite direction in which the walkers had gone. I’ve put in enough photographs to show how intently the coyote smelled the area. 

I wonder what kind of information the coyote was after?  Possibly gender, reproductive status, dominance?? Or even if a “message” had been left for the coyote??

That a coyote might want to “perfume” itself by rolling on a smelly dead animal such as a snake, lizard or vole makes sense. If other animals can detect a coyote’s presence simply by its smell, masking its own smell with a much stronger odor would serve the coyote well by allowing him to parade around incognito as he goes about hunting!!

Wolves Rely On Some Stinky Activities For Survival

The sense of smell is a wolf's essential sense. Wolves use their nose to identify individuals and species and to determine age, gender, diet, social rank, emotional state, and breeding condition, according to Fred Harrington and Cheryl Asa in "Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation." "To have a wolf's nose for only one day would surely reveal a whole new world," they add.

Wolf rolling on dead ungulate

To estimate just how strong a wolf's sense of smell is, the author's compare wolves with dogs, a much more studied animal. They assume that a wolf's sense of smell is at least as strong as that of a dog. And dogs, they say, "are a hundred to millions of times more sensitive than humans in perceiving odors."
The odors that wolves perceive so well are honest communication that can't be faked, since a wolf has little control over the odors it leaves. Those revealing scents are also much longer lasting communication than howling, the topic of part one in this three-part series on how wolves communicate.
Harrington and Asa list a number of sources from which wolves produce scents:
  • Urine: Wolves mark with urine frequently along the edges of their territory, creating what David Mech and Luigi Boitani call an "olfactory bowl." They mark more often when other wolves or coyotes intrude into their territory. Wolves raise their leg when urinating, possibly to give the urine more chance to be found. The height of the urine may also send a message about the stature of the animal leaving it. Only dominant male and female wolves mark with urine. Males mark more often than females.
  • Feces: Wolves also mark territory with their feces. They may leave feces on conspicuous objects and along trails and roads, often at junctions.
  • Saliva: A male can obtain information about a female's reproductive state by licking the saliva on a female's muzzle.
  • Anal sacs: Because anal sacs are surrounded by muscles that a wolf can control, a wolf can secrete on command. "The common greeting position, in which two individuals stand head to tail, suggests an interest in anal sac odors," say Harrington and Asa. The dominant wolf holds its tail away from the body, revealing the anal sac area. The subordinate animal holds its tail close.
  • Feet: Wolves have sweat glands in the webs of their paws that leave a scent when a wolf scratches the ground.
  • Skin glands: Wolves leave "distinctive odor fingerprints" that other wolves recognize.
  • Back and tail: Wolves have glands in these areas that may produce scents that reveal a wolf's emotional state.
  • Vagina: The vagina and uterus secrete odors that play a part in reproductive communication.
Harrington and Asa add that a wolf's sense of smell can work in conjunction with its sense of hearing to improve communication. A male wolf, for example, may smell a female's urine and conclude that her body is ready to mate. But her growls may tell him to back off. He better listen.
Rick Lamplugh is a wolf advocate and author of the Amazon Bestseller "In the Temple of Wolves: A Winter's Immersion in Wild Yellowstone."

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