Coyotes (Canis latrans) are a species of canine family that is primarily found in North America and are smaller than its close relative, the wolf. These species are sometimes called the ‘prairie wolf’ and the ‘brush wolf’ and are recognized to have 19 subspecies.
The color of their fur is predominantly light gray and red, although it varies depending upon the geographical location. These creatures are highly flexible in the social organization since they live either in a family unit or in loosely knit packs of unrelated individuals.
Their food habit is mainly carnivorous, and their diet includes deer, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and fruits and vegetables on some rare occasions.
One of their main characteristic features is a howl made by solitary individual Coyotes that makes them a totally unique creature and thus they are needed to be critically enquired upon.
Let’s discover how these creatures live and what are their distinctive characteristics make them different from other similar animals!
21 Interesting Facts About Coyotes
The primary intent of this article is to present 21 most defining and fascinating facts about Coyotes, relating to their lives, nature, characteristics, eating habits, and their differences with that of other similar animals like dingo, bobcat, cougar, jackal, dogs, timber wolf, and fox.
1. How long does a Coyote live?
A Coyote is known for surviving between 10-14 years in the wild and much longer, around 20 years in captivity.
Coyotes are found in open spaces, city spaces, suburban areas, and are even adapted to make their home in a city park or desert. They are seldom trapped with problems in vehicle-ridden roads and/or attacks in human residing arenas.
Also, diseases including mange, rabies, or distemper can hit them anywhere at any time! Given these situations, a wild Coyote lives a shorter span of life compared to a captivated Coyote.
2. What do Coyotes Eat?
Coyotes are omnivorous animals, which means they can eat both plants and animals. However, most of the time, the major portion of their diet includes the meat of other small animals.
They are generally opportunistic predators and feed upon a wide variety of food items, where their favorite foods include small animals such as rabbits, mice and squirrels, fish, birds, frogs, insects and in very rare cases fruits and vegetables.
They are not picky eaters, rather follow an opportunistic diet and therefore rely on eating whatever is available to them, where they mostly tend to favor the meat of other animals that constitute 90% of their diet.
3. What Eats Coyotes?
While Coyotes themselves might seem one of the most leading predators of meat, they aren’t the only ones! Coyotes become the prey of larger predators such as Mountain lions or Golden eagles.
Some other known predators that hunt and feed upon Coyotes include Cougars, Wolves, Grizzly Bears, Black Bears and other Coyotes.
As an opportunistic eaters, Dogs and eagles are seldom known for feeding and hunting upon Coyote pups whenever they have an opportunity to do so.
4. Do People Eat Coyote?
Yes, people, especially hunters, feel proud of eating whatever they hunt and therefore often feed on Coyote’s meat. Coyotes are not only edible but can also produce spectacular taste if their meat is overcooked and some spices are added to improve the flavor.
Their meat can taste great and like that of beef if handled and prepared properly. Although Coyote meat is sometimes eaten amongst people, the majority of Americans don’t prefer to eat Coyotes primarily because of their small size and their predatory and cannibalistic nature.
5. When are Coyotes most Active?
While Coyotes can be seen to come out both during the day and the night, they are most active during dawn and dusk, and this is the time when their iconic loud howl is being heard and they communicate with other Coyotes.
Coyotes are highly active in the winter seasons since during this period the daylight is very less compared to the summer daylight.
Thus their time of activity and hunting depends on the intensity of sunlight at the place where the Coyotes reside.
They can however come out and hunt during the day, which happens rarely, only if they wish to hunt rodents or rabbits that come out during the day, otherwise, they prefer the nighttime to hunt and stay active.
6. When do Coyotes Sleep?
Coyotes are rarely seen during the daytime for which it is generally assumed that these creatures are ‘nocturnal’ by nature, that is, they tend to sleep during the daytime and prey during the night.
However, since Coyotes have entered the urban area, they have therefore adapted themselves according to the city’s lifestyle.
They have the ability and skills of surviving in extremely adverse conditions and adapt accordingly. Thus consequently they have started finding food and hunting in the daylight and sleep at night.
Coyotes hate being seen during the day, which makes it really hard to spot them in the daylight. Thus, in the daytime, they prefer to sleep in the arenas with less human intervention and become more active during the nighttime for food and prey.
7. When do Coyotes Howl?
Coyotes usually howl in the evening or at night. Howling is the basic communication behavior that they utilize for various reasons.
They use their howling for calling the pack or the family group of the Coyotes or can advertise their presence and territorial boundaries to other packs by howling.
Do Coyotes Howl when they catch Prey?
Although Coyotes howl for a variety of reasons, they certainly don’t howl when they catch prey and announce to their meal that they plan to eat it!
Who would want to scare away their dinner? A Coyote howls basically to communicate with other Coyotes.
Therefore, like most of the other predators, Coyotes also hunt silently without howling, rather than sneaking up on their prey.
8. When is Coyote Breeding Season?
The breeding season of Coyotes runs from late December to March, and the Pups are born in early Spring.
Generally being monogamous, Coyotes maintain pair bonds that last for several years. Their litter size depends on many factors but usually ranges from four to seven.
Both the parents care for their babies, and the Pups become close to adult size at around nine months when some begin to leave the pack while others remain with their parents.
9. Can Coyotes mate with Dogs?
Yes, since both Coyotes and Dogs are closely related species, they can no doubt interbreed and produce a hybrid called the ‘Coydog’.
Although it is genetically possible for Dogs and Coyotes to mate and subsequently produce fertile offspring, there is an argument that the mating cycles of the two species differ.
Coyotes go into heat between January and March and have offspring in May or June, while most Dogs have their pups in the winter.
Some say the social habits of Dogs and Coyotes make their mating possibility rare since wild coyotes are more likely to eat the dog.
10. How High can a Coyote Jump?
Coyotes are excellent jumpers and can leap up to three feet in the air. However, they can easily jump over a fence of 6-14 feet height with the help of their back legs and toes to climb up and over the fence.
At first, the Coyote jumps up to grab and hold the top of the fence with its front paws and then adds its vertical momentum by pulling on the top of the fence, which helps him to gain additional height.
At the same time, he brings his back paws up to the top of the fence so that all four of his paws are in contact with the top of the fence and all this takes the Coyote less than a 1/2 second!
The Coyote then uses its back legs to spring off the fence, while he extends his front paws in order to land smoothly. This is how they can jump so high!
11. How Fast can a Coyote Run?
The fastest speed of a Coyote that is officially recorded is 43 mph or approximately 1/4th of a mile. Sometimes individual hunters have reported much higher speeds of Coyotes ranging from 45 mph to 47 mph.
Although Coyotes can run at a speed of 45 mph, their running speed basically depends on the running capabilities of individual Coyotes, the distance of the Coyotes running, as well as the situation confronted by the Coyotes.
A Coyote can run at a speed of 45 mph when it’s sprinting but probably runs at a speed of 10-20 mph for moderate and long distances.
12. Dingo Vs Coyote
Although Dingo and Coyote look similar and happen to be closely related species, they are usually not that similar but rather are more different, both in their features as well as behaviors.
While Dingo is believed to have a domestic ancestry, Coyotes are always believed to be fully wild in nature. Dingo is primarily found in Australia and Southeast Asia, while Coyote is generally a North American animal.
A Dingo is basically more like a big wild dog, whereas a Coyote looks more like a small wolf, thus resembles a wolf more than a dog.
13. Coyote Vs Pitbull
Coyotes belong to the Canine family, they share their family with that of Wolves and therefore are supposed to be more closely related and similar to the Wolf species.
Even though they exhibit considerable similarity with that of Pitbull species, they aren’t always closely related enough.
While Coyotes are largely wild animals, Pitbulls are basically a type of dog breed that are domestic animals and are often kept at home as a pet animals.
Pitbulls are popular for their massive size and body structure, On the other hand, Coyotes are comparatively smaller and somewhat weaker than Pitbulls.
14. Coyote Vs Hyena
Hyenas belong to the family ‘Hyaenidae’ and are primarily native to Africa and Asia, Coyotes, on the other hand, are generally native to North America and belong to the family ‘Canidae’.
Both being wild animals and exhibiting carnivorous behaviors, they tend to differ from each other significantly.
The major difference between the two is that while Coyotes are closely related to Wolves and Dogs, Hyenas are more closely related to Cats, even though they look similar to Dogs.
15. Coyote Vs Cougar
While Coyotes are small-medium-sized canines, Cougars are large felines and comparatively bigger in size than Coyotes.
Both are carnivorous and wild but still are totally distinctive. While Coyotes have close associations with Dogs and Wolves, Cougars are more related to the Cat family.
Cougars sometimes hunt, kill and feed on Coyotes and therefore Coyotes are out of the league of the Cougars.
Usually, Coyotes fight Cougars in a pack and it requires 3-4 Coyotes to fight a single Cougar.
It requires even more numbers of Coyotes if the opponent Cougar is a huge adult male. Therefore, in the case of a single Coyote, it is likely that the Coyote is easily defeated.
16. Coyote Vs Bobcat
Bobcats are medium-sized North American wild cats that are adapted to live in a variety of habitats, whereas Coyotes belong to the Canidae family and are closely related to Wolves and Dogs.
Although Bobcats are smaller than Coyotes, they often tend to be aggressive and are tough competitors of Coyotes during a fight.
Coyotes, on the other hand, utilize their extraordinary skills to hunt and kill Bobcats, and sometimes even feed on them.
17. Coyote Vs Jackal
The main difference between Coyotes (also called American Jackal) and Jackals is that the geography where they are found most.
While Coyotes are a particular species of mammals found specifically in North America, Jackals include several species of the Wolf genus of mammals and are found primarily in Asia and Africa.
All three species of Jackals are comparatively smaller in size than Coyotes and are less predatory by nature.
18. Coyotes Vs Dogs
Although Coyotes and Dogs are closely related to each other and belong to the same family, they tend to exhibit considerable differences in their nature and behaviors.
While Dogs are mostly domestic animals with non-aggressive temperaments, Coyotes are generally wild and are more predatory in nature. They also exhibit considerable differences in their looks.
19. Coyote Vs Lobo
The Mexican wolf is also known as the Lobo and is basically a subspecies of the gray wolf. It is usually native to southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico in the United States.
Lobos are the smallest of North America’s gray wolves and are somewhat bigger than Coyotes.
Although belonging to the same family closely related to each other, Coyotes and Lobos are different in many respects, especially in basic characteristic features.
20. Timber Wolf Vs Coyote
Timber Wolf also called Gray wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest wild member of the Canidae family and inhabits vast areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
Coyotes and Wolves belong to the same family and are equally carnivorous, but they exhibit distinctive characteristics especially in appearance and size. While Wolves are larger, Coyotes are smaller in size compared to Wolves and have narrow noses.
21. Coyote Vs Fox
Coyotes and Foxes belong to the same family of Canidae, but a closer review reveals that these creatures are considerably different from each other.
Coyotes are larger in size than Foxes and can hunt some middle-large sized animals which the Foxes are seldom able to do.
Coyotes are somewhat social animals but Foxes are primarily solitary animals that live aloof in the woods.
Coyotes are therefore one of the most distinctive species of the Canidae family, sharing many of their traits with their close relatives such as Wolves, Dogs, and Foxes. It is critically enquired upon the characteristic features of Coyotes in this article.
This article provides some of the fascinating and interesting facts concerning the lives and distinctive features of Coyotes.
These creatures live a pretty long life, primarily are carnivorous by nature and are most active in the low-light conditions especially dawn, dusk and night.