Expecting at Lathrop, Part 1

by Barbara Walvoord

There are one heck of a lot of pregnant females on our land at Lathrop right now. No, I’m not talking about us old folks becoming the new biblical Abraham and Sarah. I’m talking about the wild creatures that call our Lathrop land their home.

Our coyote couple–the ones we hear howling sometimes at night–has mated in February or March and is expecting a litter of 4-8 pups in April or May. The cute pup above was photographed by John Good of the National Park Service. The coyote family unit contains mom and dad, who mate for life, possibly 1 or 2 “teenage” coyotes called helpers (are they more willing than our human teenagers?), and perhaps other, non-mating adults who, if the alpha couple is killed, will mate like crazy and have bigger litters than usual. More at http://www.predatordefense.org/coyotes.htm

Our bobcat female has mated in late winter with a philandering dad whose territory overlaps hers and that of several other females. On the east campus, we see our bobcat passing through; resident Chuck Gillies photographed this one in his back yard. All winter, we see bobcat tracks in the snow.

Photo by Chuck Gillies
Photo by Chuck Gillies

Our bobcat mom will soon give birth in a secluded den. She’ll take about 9 months to teach the kittens how to hunt and then, about Christmas time, she’ll chase her children out of her territory. No teenage helpers for her. More at http://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-facts/

So what are all these nursing moms, dads (faithful or philandering), teenage helpers (willing or not), hangers-on (mating or not), and hungry babies going to eat? Stay tuned next week for the pregnant females who will provide the food for our Lathrop carnivores.

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