ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — A Rockingham County man says he spotted a unique visitor on his farm this past week.
Pat Jenks reached out to WFMY’s Facebook page with photos of a rare black coyote. He said the animal comes around his farm at least once or twice a week.
“I’ve gotten probably 50 pictures of it this year on my wildlife cams,” Jenks said. “Very close to the Mayo river area around Stoneville.”
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The Greensboro Science Center says black coyotes are rare, but it's unclear just how rare they are because not much research has been done on them.
According to researchers with the Atlanta Coyote Project, for every 75-100 coyotes trapped in southern Georgia, 2-3 were black - around 2%. But in Mississippi, the trait has been recorded in only 0.5% of coyotes.
The Greensboro Science Center says that black pigment or melanism can occur in many mammals and some have a higher frequency of the trait than others.
The center said that melanism is the exact opposite of albinism, which is the complete lack of pigment, and that it is very rare.
The science center says the cause of melanism is a genetic variant that can either happen naturally or be passed on through breeding and that it occurs in coyotes due to hybridization from domestic dogs or wolves.