Yellowstone coyote not alone; can you spot the other mammal?

A bit of advice for anyone visiting Yellowstone National Park: While  searching for wildlife, always take a moment to look behind you.

This could be rewarding even you’re already observing large animals.

The accompanying images show a coyote that I photographed last May as I stood alongside a road with dozens of others observing a cinnamon black bear with two cubs.

Photo: ©Pete Thomas

The bears were down a forested slope, perhaps 80 yards from the road. The coyote was behind us, on the opposite side of the road, passing almost unnoticed about 40 yards away.

I didn’t realize until that evening that a smaller critter was in the image, watching the coyote. Can you spot and ID the critter? (Answer below.)

Of course, coyotes do not rank high on many tourists’ spotting lists. But I found it interesting that this coyote was on the move and so close to so many people who had no idea it was even present.

Mountain goats on a ridge. Photo: ©Pete Thomas

On the same trip, also in Yellowstone’s northern range, I was with perhaps 30 tourists watching a lone black bear descending a slope toward the road. People jockeyed for spots from which to observe or photograph the bruin.

Directly behind us, high atop a rocky peak, mountain goats maneuvered in and out of sight. They were distant and the accompanying image is cropped and grainy, but I was glad to have documented the sighting before turning my attention back to the bear.

Ground squirrel watching the coyote. Photo: ©Pete Thomas

My mammal sightings log for three days: 14 individual bears, the coyote and ground squirrel (see photo above), the mountain goats, and dozens of pronghorn and bison.

Story originally appeared on For The Win