Residents vs. Transients

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are pack animals that are led by an alpha male and female. Living in a pack offers certain advantages! It’s often said that there is strength in numbers and that’s certainly the case here. Living in a pack makes it easier for coyotes to defend their territory from external threats such as other predators.

Coyotes that live in a pack and defend a territory are referred to as residents. Transients, on the other hand, do not live in a pack. These solitary animals are often yearlings that have left their natal pack where they were born. Being sick or old can also result in an individual being forced to leave its pack.

Transients, unlike residents, are not territorial and have rather large ranges that may overlap the territories of several coyote packs. Since transients cannot easily defend themselves from a pack, they will go out of their way to avoid conflicts. It is not uncommon to see a lone coyote wandering down the roadside trying to steer clear of other packs.

Young transients, however, are not necessarily destined to wander alone for the rest of their days. If they are accepted by the alpha pair, then they are welcome to join the pack!

Denise Peterson

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