Predator vs. Prey: Fawn vs. Coyote

By | April 1, 2013
From Xplor: April/May 2013

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

Clever Canine

Coyotes use sharp wits to find prey. They’ve been seen following circling crows to dead animals and waiting behind digging badgers to snap up escaping rodents.

Camouflage Coat

Sunlight streaming through overhead leaves casts spots of light on the forest floor. A fawn’s spotty coat helps the tiny deer disappear against this speckled pattern.

Ticker Toggle

When danger approaches, a fawn’s heart slows from 180 beats a minute to about 40, and the fawn’s breathing nearly stops. Predators can’t hear its heart or see the tiniest twitch of movement.


Fawns don’t have a strong odor that would attract predators. To keep from soiling fawns with their stronger scents, mama deer visit their babies just a few times a day.

Doggone Fast

Coyotes can sprint 40 miles an hour for short distances, which is plenty fast enough to run down a newborn fawn.

Precision Vision

Although coyotes can’t see as many colors as humans, their eyes are excellent at detecting the slightest movement from prey.

And the winner is...

This one could go either way. If the fawn lies absolutely still, the coyote should pass right by. But if it tries to run, it will become coyote kibble.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White