Den Done In

by Carl Strang

I thought the coyote den might survive. It was, after all, outside the fence bounding the friary demolition site at Mayslake Forest Preserve. As I mentioned recently, the coyotes have sniffed around the den from time to time, so they at least were considering using it again despite its new exposure.

Here is a recent example of a coyote checking out the den.

On the other hand, the den clearly was supported by buried concrete.

The den as I first found it in 2008.

Recently the demolition contractor has been cleaning up around the periphery of the site. Someone obviously noticed the coyote den, for here is how I found it on Wednesday.

The concrete was dug out, and the den is no more. The smaller hole in the foreground is skunk sized.

The soil told of the work of large machinery.

Note the smoothed grooves left by a machine.

However, no tracks led to the location from outside the fence, which was itself intact. Only two machines have been present at the site in recent days, a bulldozer and a crane.

The culprit at rest.

The crane must have reached over the fence, plucked out the buried concrete chunks, and smoothed the soil. I am conflicted about whether to be disappointed that the den where so many pups were raised is gone, or relieved that the concrete no longer is there. Not that my feelings matter. The coyotes will need to dig a new den, and I will need to find it if it is on the preserve.



  1. jomegat said,

    January 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Don’t coyotes use multiple dens? If so, they probably have a few more in the vicinity.

    • natureinquiries said,

      January 9, 2011 at 7:24 am

      It certainly would be prudent for them to have a bolt hole in case the primary den is threatened. I don’t know from personal experience that coyotes in my area do so, however. Raccoons do (they den in tree hollows, mainly). I don’t think skunks do. The difference (if there is one) is that the soil here is a clay that is really difficult to dig in. The Mayslake coyotes had a den that, with its concrete protection and dense surrounding vegetation, might have seemed invulnerable. If they had a complete spare den it is off the preserve, and there are limited possible locations because nearly all the surrounding area is composed of big fancy houses and manicured estates. Time will tell.

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