Why do coyotes and wolves howl?
What are coyotes and other wild canines saying when they howl?
An article in the summer issue of National Parks magazine examines the howls of wolves and coyotes, using a computer to determine how they are “talking” to each other and what they are saying.
Researchers found coyotes produce 21 howl types, as do red wolves, based on frequency of modulation. They believe the creatures are probably communicating vital information about the location of food, predators, and other coyotes.
Conservationists hope to use the information they’ve gained so far to manage various wolf species and coyotes. How?
For example, ranchers and farmers sometimes (unsuccessfully) use mechanical howl devices to ward away predatory wolves and coyotes from domestic herds and flocks.
Scientists now believe these devices probably use the wrong howl. Instead of saying “stay away,” the devices may be saying “come and catch some food in this rancher’s pasture.”
As for the old adage that wolves and coyotes howl at the moon, the study showed no link between that celestial body and canine howling.
It may be simply that howling animals are more visible in moonlight.