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Wild Animals/Coyote or some type of fox

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Question
I was in the McCain Valley wilderness area in California 3 weeks ago and spotted what I believe were coyote, but could not ascertain for sure. I spotted 2 of the animals together trotting by looking apparently for something they were intent on eating. Their posture was pretty intent and aggressive. Their tails seemed to be straight up while they were moving by me (about 25 yds below me on a ridge) and the tails were fluffy. There was some red tint to one of them but mostly they were grey like a wolf. Can not for the life of me recall whether they had the large ears or the dark markings around the eyes like the kit fox. This was 12 noon on a sunny day. One of them climbed up on top of a boulder at one point and looked right at me for several seconds. They got spooked and I saw one of them really haul it down a road, moving so fast! The animal seemed to be a bit smaller than an adult coyote, which made me think at first it was a young coyote. Thanks for your answer!

Answer
From your description and their actions and postures.....
Without seeing a photo they sound like coyotes.  I have seen coyotes that have a reddish tint in certain light.  Coyotes can be found hunting in groups.  I have seen coyotes with their tails straight up like a dog, but have not seen a fox do that.

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JOHN ROCKWOOD

Expertise

I ONLY ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT COMMON LOONS. As a Common Loon expert, I can answer any questions about Common Loons - from biology, behavior, conservation, habitat and environmental issues effecting Loons. AGAIN, I ANSWER COMMON LOONS QUESTIONS ONLY - IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT OTHER ANIMALS, PLEASE ASK A DIFFERENT EXPERT. Thank you!

Experience

I was a guest presenter for the NH Loon Centerís 2005-2009 Summer Nature Talks series, lecturing on the Life Cycle of the Common Loon. I will be returning with 2 shows for the 2010 Summer Nature Talks series. I have lectured on Common Loons at the NH Massabesic Audubon Center, the NH McLane Audubon Center, the York County Maine Audubon, the Harris Center in NH as well as numerous Libraries and retirement communities in MA and NH and assisted living facilities in MA and NH. I wrote a book "Adventures With Grapenut" which follows the life of a 4 day old loon chick until it migrates to the ocean 121 days later. I collaborate with the biologists at the NH Loon Center throughout the year.

Publications
Birds & Blooms. Adventures With Grapenut

Education/Credentials
BS Biology, marine biology major and 10 years observing and photographing Common Loons in NH and ME.

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