The coyote (
Canis latrans); from Nahuatl
pronunciation (help·info)) is a canine native to North
America. It is smaller than its close relative, the gray wolf, and
slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf.
It fills much of the same ecological niche as the golden jackal does
in Eurasia, though it is larger and more predatory, and is sometimes
called the American jackal by zoologists.
The coyote is listed as least concern by the International Union for
Conservation of Nature due to its wide distribution and abundance
throughout North America, southwards through Mexico, and into Central
America. The species is versatile, able to adapt to and expand into
environments modified by humans. It is enlarging its range, with
coyotes moving into urban areas in the Eastern U.S., and was sighted
Panama (across the
Panama Canal from their home range) for
the first time in 2013.
As of 2005[update], 19 coyote subspecies are recognized. The average
male weighs 8 to 20 kg (18 to 44 lb) and the average female
7 to 18 kg (15 to 40 lb). Their fur color is predominantly
light gray and red or fulvous interspersed with black and white,
though it varies somewhat with geography. It is highly flexible in
social organization, living either in a family unit or in loosely knit
packs of unrelated individuals. It has a varied diet consisting
primarily of animal meat, including deer, rabbits, hares, rodents,
birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates, though it may
also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion. Its characteristic
vocalization is a howl made by solitary individuals. Humans are the
coyote's greatest threat, followed by cougars and gray wolves. In
spite of this, coyotes sometimes mate with gray, eastern, or red
wolves, producing "coywolf" hybrids. In the northeastern United States
and eastern Canada, the eastern coyote (a larger subspecies, though
still smaller than wolves) is the result of various historical and
recent matings with various types of wolves. Genetic studies show that
most North American wolves contain some level of coyote DNA.
The coyote is a prominent character in Native American folklore,
mainly in the
Southwestern United States
Southwestern United States and Mexico, usually depicted
as a trickster that alternately assumes the form of an actual coyote
or a man. As with other trickster figures, the coyote uses deception
and humor to rebel against social conventions. The animal was
especially respected in Mesoamerican cosmology as a symbol of military
might. After the European colonization of the Americas, it was reviled
in Anglo-American culture as a cowardly and untrustworthy animal.
Unlike wolves (gray, eastern, or red), which have undergone an
improvement of their public image, attitudes towards the coyote remain
2 Taxonomy and evolution
2.2 Naming and etymology
2.3.1 Fossil record
2.3.2 DNA evidence
3.1 Social and reproductive behaviors
3.2 Territorial and sheltering behaviors
3.3 Hunting and feeding behaviors
3.4.1 Body language
4.3 Enemies and competitors
6 Diseases and parasites
7 Relationships with humans
7.1 In folklore and mythology
7.2 Attacks on humans
7.3 Livestock and pet predation
11 Further reading
12 External links
Closeup of a mountain coyote's (C. l. lestes) head
Coyote males average 8 to 20 kg (18 to 44 lb) in weight,
while females average 7 to 18 kg (15 to 40 lb), though size
varies geographically. Northern subspecies, which average 18 kg
(40 lb), tend to grow larger than the southern subspecies of
Mexico, which average 11.5 kg (25 lb). Body length ranges on
average from 1.0 to 1.35 m (3 ft 3 in to 4 ft
5 in), and tail length 40 cm (16 in), with females
being shorter in both body length and height. The largest coyote on
record was a male killed near Afton, Wyoming, on November 19,
1937, which measured 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) from nose to
tail, and weighed 34 kg (75 lb). Scent glands are located
at the upper side of the base of the tail and are a bluish-black
The color and texture of the coyote's fur varies somewhat
geographically. The hair's predominant color is light gray and red
or fulvous, interspersed around the body with black and white. Coyotes
living at high elevations tend to have more black and gray shades than
their desert-dwelling counterparts, which are more fulvous or
whitish-gray. The coyote's fur consists of short, soft underfur and
long, coarse guard hairs. The fur of northern subspecies is longer and
denser than in southern forms, with the fur of some Mexican and
Central American forms being almost hispid (bristly). Generally,
adult coyotes (including coywolf hybrids) have a sable coat color,
dark neonatal coat color, bushy tail with an active supracaudal gland,
and a white facial mask.
Albinism is extremely rare in coyotes;
out of a total of 750,000 coyotes harvested by federal and cooperative
hunters between March 22, 1938, and June 30, 1945, only two
The coyote is typically smaller than the gray wolf, but has longer
ears and a relatively larger braincase, as well as a thinner frame,
face, and muzzle. The scent glands are smaller than the gray wolf's,
but are the same color. Its fur color variation is much less varied
than that of a wolf. The coyote also carries its tail downwards
when running or walking, rather than horizontally as the wolf
Coyote tracks can be distinguished from those of dogs by their more
elongated, less rounded shape. Unlike dogs, the upper canines
of coyotes extends past the mental foramina.
Taxonomy and evolution
At the time of the European colonization of the Americas, coyotes were
largely confined to open plains and arid regions of the western half
of the continent. In early post-Columbian historical records,
distinguishing between coyotes and wolves is often difficult. One
record from 1750 in Kaskaskia, Illinois, written by a local priest,
noted that the "wolves" encountered there were smaller and less daring
than European wolves. Another account from the early 1800s in Edwards
County mentioned wolves howling at night, though these were likely
coyotes. This species was encountered several times during the
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806), though it was already well
known to European traders on the upper Missouri. Lewis, writing on May
5, 1805, in northeastern Montana, described the coyote in these
Toltec pictograph of coyote.
the small woolf or burrowing dog of the prairies are the inhabitants
almost invariably of the open plains; they usually ascociate in bands
of ten or twelve sometimes more and burrow near some pass or place
much frequented by game; not being able alone to take deer or goat
they are rarely ever found alone but hunt in bands; they frequently
watch and seize their prey near their burrows; in these burrows they
raise their young and to them they also resort when pursued; when a
person approaches them they frequently bark, their note being
precisely that of the small dog. they are of an intermediate size
between that of the fox and dog, very active fleet and delicately
formed; the ears large erect and pointed the head long and pointed
more like that of the fox; tale long; ... the hair and fur also
resembles the fox tho' is much coarser and inferior. they are of a
pale redish brown colour. the eye of a deep sea green colour small and
piercing. their tallons [claws] are reather longer than those of the
ordinary wolf or that common to the atlantic states, none of which are
to be found in this quarter, nor I believe above the river Plat.
The coyote was first scientifically described by Thomas Say, a
naturalist, in September 1819 on the site of Lewis and Clark's Council
Bluffs, fifteen miles up the
Missouri River from the mouth of the
Platte during a government-sponsored expedition with Major Stephen
Long. He had the first edition of the Lewis and Clark journals in
hand, which contained Biddle's edited version of Lewis's observations
dated May 5, 1805. His account was published in 1823. Say was the
first person to document the difference between a "prairie wolf"
(coyote) and on the next page of his journal a wolf which he named
Canis nubilus (
Great Plains wolf). Say described the coyote as:
Canis latrans. Cinereous or gray, varied with black above, and dull
fulvous, or cinnamon; hair at base dusky plumbeous, in the middle of
its length dull cinnamon, and at tip gray or black, longer on the
vertebral line; ears erect, rounded at tip, cinnamon behind, the hair
dark plumbeous at base, inside lined with gray hair; eyelids edged
with black, superior eyelashes black beneath, and at tip above;
supplemental lid margined with black-brown before, and edged with
black brown behind; iris yellow; pupil black-blue; spot upon the
lachrymal sac black-brown; rostrum cinnamon, tinctured with grayish on
the nose; lips white, edged with black, three series of black seta;
head between the ears intermixed with gray, and dull cinnamon, hairs
dusky plumbeous at base; sides paler than the back, obsoletely
fasciate with black above the legs; legs cinnamon on the outer side,
more distinct on the posterior hair: a dilated black abbreviated line
on the anterior ones near the wrist; tail bushy, fusiform, straight,
varied with gray and cinnamon, a spot near the base above, and tip
black; the tip of the trunk of the tail, attains the tip of the os
calcis, when the leg is extended; beneath white, immaculate, tail
cinnamon towards the tip, tip black; posterior feet four toed,
anterior five toed.
Naming and etymology
The earliest written reference to the species comes from the
naturalist Francisco Hernández's Plantas y Animales de la Nueva
España (1651), where it is described as a "Spanish fox" or "jackal".
The first published usage of the word "coyote" (which is a Spanish
borrowing of its
Nahuatl name coyōtl) comes from the historian
Francisco Javier Clavijero's Historia de México in 1780. The
first time it was used in English occurred in William Bullock's Six
months' residence and travels in
Mexico (1824), where it is variously
transcribed as cayjotte and cocyotie. The word's spelling was
standardized as "coyote" by the 1880s. Alternative English
names for the coyote include "prairie wolf", "brush wolf", "cased
wolf",[a] "little wolf" and "American jackal". Its
Canis latrans translates to "barking dog", a reference
to the many vocalizations they produce.
Local and indigenous names for ''
Linguistic group or area
Perro de monte
Phylogenetic tree of the extant wolf-like canids
Caninae 3.5 Ma
African golden wolf
African golden wolf
African wild dog
African wild dog
Phylogenetic relationships between the extant wolf-like clade of
canids based on nuclear DNA sequence data taken from the cell
nucleus, except for the Himalayan wolf, based on mitochondrial
DNA sequences. Timing in millions of years.
See also: Evolution of the wolf § Fossil record
Pleistocene coyote (C. l. orcutti)
Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford, one of the foremost authorities
on carnivore evolution, proposed that the genus
Canis was the
descendant of the coyote-like
Eucyon davisi and its remains first
appeared in the
Miocene 6 million years ago (Mya) in the
southwestern USA and Mexico. By the
Pliocene (5 Mya), the larger
Canis lepophagus appeared in the same region and by the early
Pleistocene (1 Mya) C. latrans (the coyote) was in
existence. They proposed that the progression from
Eucyon davisi to
C lepophagus to the coyote was linear evolution.:p58
Additionally, C. latrans and C. aureus are closely related
to C. edwardii, a species that appeared earliest spanning the
Blancan (late Pliocene) to the close of the
Pleistocene), and coyote remains indistinguishable from
C. latrans were contemporaneous with C. edwardii in North
America.:p175,180 Johnston describes C. lepophagus as having a
more slender skull and skeleton than the modern coyote.:385 Ronald
Nowak found that the early populations had small, delicate, narrowly
proportioned skulls that resemble small coyotes and appear to be
ancestral to C. latrans.:p241
C. lepophagus was a similar in weight to modern coyotes, but had
shorter limb bones that indicates a less cursorial lifestyle. The
coyote represents a more primitive form of
Canis than the gray wolf,
as shown by its relatively small size and its comparatively narrow
skull and jaws, which lack the grasping power necessary to hold the
large prey in which wolves specialize. This is further corroborated by
the coyote's sagittal crest, which is low or totally flattened, thus
indicating a weaker bite than the wolf's. The coyote is not a
specialized carnivore as the wolf is, as shown by the larger chewing
surfaces on the molars, reflecting the species' relative dependence on
vegetable matter. In these respects, the coyote resembles the fox-like
progenitors of the genus more so than the wolf.
The oldest fossils that fall within the range of the modern coyote
date to 0.74–0.85 Ma (million years) in Hamilton Cave, West
Virginia; 0.73 Ma in Irvington, California; 0.35–0.48 Ma in
Colorado and in Cumberland Cave, Pennsylvania.:p136
Modern coyotes arose 1,000 years after the Quaternary extinction
event. Compared to their modern
Holocene counterparts, Pleistocene
coyotes (C. l. orcutti) were larger and more robust, likely in
response to larger competitors and prey. Pleistocene coyotes were
likely more specialized carnivores than their descendants, as their
teeth were more adapted to shearing meat, showing fewer grinding
surfaces suited for processing vegetation. Their reduction in size
occurred within 1000 years of the Quaternary extinction event, when
their large prey died out. Furthermore, Pleistocene coyotes were
unable to exploit the big-game hunting niche left vacant after the
extinction of the dire wolf (C. dirus), as it was rapidly filled
by gray wolves, which likely actively killed off the large coyotes,
with natural selection favoring the modern gracile morph.
In 1993, a study proposed that the wolves of
North America display
skull traits more similar to the coyote than those wolves from
Eurasia. In 2010, a study found that the coyote was a basal member
of the clade that included the Tibetan wolf, the Dog, the Mongolian
wolf and the Eurasian wolf, with the
Tibetan wolf diverging early from
wolves and domestic dogs. In 2016, a whole-genome DNA study
proposed, based on the assumptions made, that all of the North
American wolves and coyotes diverged from a common ancestor less than
6,000–117,000 years ago. The study also indicated that all North
America wolves have a significant amount of coyote ancestry and all
coyotes some degree of wolf ancestry, and that the red wolf and
eastern wolf are highly admixed with different proportions of gray
wolf and coyote ancestry. One test indicated a wolf/coyote divergence
time of 51,000 years before present that matched other studies
indicating that the extant wolf came into being around this time.
Another test indicated that the red wolf diverged from the coyote
between 55,000 and 117,000 years before present and the Great Lakes
region wolf 32,000 years before present. Other tests and modelling
showed various divergence ranges and the conclusion was a range of
less than 6,000 and 117,000 years before present. The study found that
coyote ancestry was highest in red wolves from the southeastern United
States and lowest among the Great Lakes region wolves. The theory
proposed was that this pattern matched the south to north
disappearance of the wolf due to European colonization and its
resulting loss of habitat. Bounties led to the extirpation of wolves
initially in the southeast, and as the wolf population declined,
wolf-coyote admixture increased. Later, this process occurred in the
Great Lakes region with the influx of coyotes replacing wolves,
followed by the expansion of coyotes and their hybrids across the
wider region. The proposed timing of the wolf/coyote
divergence conflicts with the finding of a coyote-like specimen in
strata dated to 1 Mya.
As of 2005[update], 19 subspecies are recognized. Geographic
variation in coyotes is not great, though taken as a whole, the
eastern subspecies (C. l. thamnos and C. l. frustor) are large,
dark-colored animals, with a gradual paling in color and reduction in
size westward and northward (C. l. texensis, C. l. latrans, C. l.
lestes, and C. l. incolatus), a brightening of ochraceous tones–deep
orange or brown–towards the Pacific coast (C. l. ochropus, C. l.
umpquensis), a reduction in size in the
Southwestern United States
Southwestern United States (C.
l. microdon, C. l. mearnsi) and a general trend towards dark reddish
colors and short muzzles in Mexican and Central American
C. l. latrans
The largest subspecies, it has rather pale fur and bears large molars
Great Plains from Alberta, Manitoba, and
Saskatchewan south to New
Mexico and the
Texas Panhandle 
C. l. nebracensis (Merriam, 1898)
C. l. pallidus (Merriam, 1897)
C. l. cagottis
C. E. H. Smith, 1839
Similar to C. l. peninsulae, but larger and redder in color, it has
shorter ears, larger teeth, and a broader muzzle.
States of Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, and
San Pedro Martir coyote
C. l. clepticus
A small subspecies, it has reddish summer fur and a short, broad
California and southwestern
C. l. dickeyi
A large subspecies, it equals C. l. lestes in size, but has smaller
teeth and darker fur.
Originally only known from Cerro Mogote, 3.2 km (2 mi) west
Goascorán River in La Unión, El Salvador, in January
2013, it expanded its range southward to southern Panama.
C. l. frustor
This subspecies is similar to C. l. peninsulae, but larger and paler,
with shorter ears and a longer muzzle.
Southeastern and extreme eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri,
C. l. goldmani
The largest of the Mexican coyotes, it approaches C. l. latrans in
size, but has a shorter muzzle.
Known only from San Vicente, Chiapas, Mexico, near the Guatemalan
border, though it could be the coyote of western Guatemala.
C. l. hondurensis
A small, rufous-colored subspecies, it has coarse, thin fur and a
Known only from the open country northeast of Archaga, north of
C. l. impavidus
This canid is similar to C. l. cagottis in color, but much larger.
Southern Sonora, extreme southwestern Chihuahua, western Durango,
western Zacatecas, and
C. l. incolatus
A medium-sized subspecies, it has cinnamon-colored fur and a more
concave skull than C. l. latrans.
Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, northern British Columbia, and
Tiburón Island coyote
C. l. jamesi
Much paler than C. l. mearnsi, it has heavier teeth, a large skull,
and long ears.
Tiburón Island 
C. l. lestes
Similar in size and color to C. l. latrans, this subspecies has a
large tail and ears.
British Columbia and southeastern Alberta, Washington east of
the Cascade Range, Oregon, northern California, western Montana,
Colorado (except the southeastern corner), north-central
Nevada, and north-central
C. l. mearnsi
A small subspecies with medium-sized ears, a small skull and small
teeth, its fur is richly and brightly colored. The fulvous tints are
exceedingly bright, and cover the hind and fore feet.
southwestern Colorado, extreme southern
Utah and Nevada, southeastern
California, northeastern Baja California, Arizona, west of the Rio
Grande in New Mexico, northern
Sonora and Chihuahua 
estor (Merriam, 1897)
Rio Grande coyote
C. l. microdon
A small subspecies, it has small teeth and rather dark fur. The upper
surface of the hind foot is whitish, while the belly is sprinkled with
Southern Texas and northern
California Valley coyote
C. l. ochropus
von Eschscholtz, 1829
Similar to C. l. latrans and C. l. lestes, but smaller, darker, more
brightly colored, it has larger ears and smaller skull and teeth.
California west of the Sierra
C. l. peninsulae
It is similar to C. l. ochropus in size and features, but has darker,
redder fur. The underside of the tail is blacker than that of C. l.
ochropus, and the belly has more black-tipped hairs.
C. l. var.
Lawrence and Bossert, 1969
It is a hybrid of C. lupus, but smaller than the eastern wolf and
holds smaller territories, but is larger and holds more extensive home
ranges than the typical western coyote.
It ranges in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. They also range in
the eastern Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Texas Plains coyote
C. l. texensis
Smaller than C. l. latrans, it has brighter, more fulvous fur closely
approaching the richness found in C. l. ochropus, though C. l.
texensis lacks that subspecies' large ears.
most of Texas, eastern New Mexico, and northeastern
C. l. thamnos
About the same size as C. l. latrans, or larger, but darker in color,
it has a broader skull.
Manitoba (except the extreme southwestern
corner), east to southern Quebec, south to eastern North Dakota,
Missouri (north of the
Missouri River), Michigan,
Illinois (except the extreme southern portion), and
Northwest Coast coyote
C. l. umpquensis
A small subspecies, it has dark, rufous-tinged fur, a comparatively
small skull, and weak dentition.
Coast of Washington and
C. l. vigilis
Similar to C. l. peninsulae, but darker and more extensively colored,
it has more black on the forearm, and no black on the underside of the
tail (excepting the tip).
Pacific coast of
Jalisco south to
Melanistic coyotes owe their color to a mutation that first arose in
Coyotes have occasionally mated with dogs, sometimes producing crosses
colloquially known as "coydogs". Such matings are rare in the
wild, as the mating cycles of dogs and coyotes do not coincide, and
coyotes are usually antagonistic towards dogs. Hybridization usually
only occurs when coyotes are expanding into areas where conspecifics
are few, and dogs are the only alternatives. Even then, pup survival
rates are lower than normal, as dogs do not form pair bonds with
coyotes, thus making the rearing of pups more difficult. In
captivity, F1 hybrids (first generation) tend to be more mischievous
and less manageable as pups than dogs, and are less trustworthy on
maturity than wolf-dog hybrids. Hybrids vary in appearance, but
generally retain the coyote's usual characteristics. F1 hybrids tend
to be intermediate in form between dogs and coyotes, while F2 hybrids
(second generation) are more varied. Both F1 and F2 hybrids resemble
their coyote parents in terms of shyness and intrasexual
aggression. Hybrids are fertile and can be successfully bred
through four generations. Melanistic coyotes owe their black pelts
to a mutation that first arose in domestic dogs. A population of
nonalbino white coyotes in Newfoundland owe their coloration to a
melanocortin 1 receptor mutation inherited from Golden Retrievers.
Coywolf hybrid conceived in captivity between a male gray wolf and a
Coyotes have hybridized with wolves to varying degrees, particularly
Eastern United States
Eastern United States and Canada. The so-called "eastern
coyote" of northeastern
North America probably originated in the
aftermath of the extermination of gray and eastern wolves in the
northeast, thus allowing coyotes to colonize former wolf ranges and
mix with remnant wolf populations. This hybrid is smaller than either
the gray or eastern wolf, and holds smaller territories, but is in
turn larger and holds more extensive home ranges than the typical
western coyote. As of 2010, the eastern coyote's genetic makeup is
fairly uniform, with minimal influence from eastern wolves or western
coyotes. Adult eastern coyotes are larger than western coyotes,
with female eastern coyotes weighing 21% more than male western
coyotes. Physical differences become more apparent by the age
of 35 days, with eastern coyote pups having longer legs than their
western counterparts. Differences in dental development also occurs,
with tooth eruption being later, and in a different order in the
eastern coyote. Aside from its size, the eastern coyote is
physically similar to the western coyote. The four color phases range
from dark brown to blond or reddish blond, though the most common
phase is gray-brown, with reddish legs, ears, and flanks. No
significant differences exist between eastern and western coyotes in
aggression and fighting, though eastern coyotes tend to fight less,
and are more playful. Unlike western coyote pups, in which fighting
precedes play behavior, fighting among eastern coyote pups occurs
after the onset of play. Eastern coyotes tend to reach sexual
maturity at two years of age, much later than in western coyotes.
Eastern and red wolves are also products of varying degrees of
wolf-coyote hybridization. The eastern wolf probably was a result of a
wolf-coyote admixture, combined with extensive backcrossing with
parent gray wolf populations. The red wolf may have originated during
a time of declining wolf populations in the southeastern United
States, forcing a wolf-coyote hybridization as well as backcrossing
with local parent coyote populations to the extent that about 75–80%
of the modern red wolf's genome is of coyote derivation.
Social and reproductive behaviors
Mearns' coyote (C. l. mearnsi) pups playing
A pack of coyotes in Yellowstone National Park
Like the golden jackal, the coyote is gregarious, but not as dependent
on conspecifics as more social canid species like wolves are. This is
likely because the coyote is not a specialized hunter of large prey as
the latter species is. The basic social unit of a coyote pack is a
family containing a reproductive female. However, unrelated coyotes
may join forces for companionship, or to bring down prey too large to
attack singly. Such "nonfamily" packs are only temporary, and may
consist of bachelor males, nonreproductive females and subadult young.
Families are formed in midwinter, when females enter estrus. Pair
bonding can occur 2–3 months before actual copulation takes
place. The copulatory tie can last 5–45 minutes. A female
entering estrus attracts males by scent marking and howling with
increasing frequency. A single female in heat can attract up to
seven reproductive males, which can follow her for as long as a month.
Although some squabbling may occur among the males, once the female
has selected a mate and copulates, the rejected males do not
intervene, and move on once they detect other estrous females.
Unlike the wolf, which has been known to practice both monogamous and
bigamous matings, the coyote is strictly monogamous, even in areas
with high coyote densities and abundant food. Females that fail to
mate sometimes assist their sisters or mothers in raising their pups,
or join their siblings until the next time they can mate. The newly
mated pair then establishes a territory and either constructs their
own den or cleans out abandoned badger, marmot, or skunk earths.
During the pregnancy, the male frequently hunts alone and brings back
food for the female. The female may line the den with dried grass or
with fur pulled from her belly. The gestation period is 63 days,
with an average litter size of six, though the number fluctuates
depending on coyote population density and the abundance of food.
Coyote pups are born in dens, hollow trees, or under ledges, and weigh
200 to 500 g (0.44 to 1.10 lb) at birth. They are altricial,
and are completely dependent on milk for their first 10 days. The
incisors erupt at about 12 days, the canines at 16, and the second
premolars at 21. Their eyes open after 10 days, by which point the
pups become increasingly more mobile, walking by 20 days, and running
at the age of six weeks. The parents begin supplementing the pup's
diet with regurgitated solid food after 12–15 days. By the age of
four to six weeks, when their milk teeth are fully functional, the
pups are given small food items such as mice, rabbits, or pieces of
ungulate carcasses, with lactation steadily decreasing after two
months. Unlike wolf pups, coyote pups begin seriously fighting (as
opposed to play fighting) prior to engaging in play behavior. A common
play behavior includes the coyote "hip-slam". By three weeks of
age, coyote pups bite each other with less inhibition than wolf pups.
By the age of four to five weeks, pups have established dominance
hierarchies, and are by then more likely to play rather than
fight. The male plays an active role in feeding, grooming, and
guarding the pups, but abandons them if the female goes missing before
the pups are completely weaned. The den is abandoned by June to July,
and the pups follow their parents in patrolling their territory and
hunting. Pups may leave their families in August, though can remain
for much longer. The pups attain adult dimensions at eight months, and
gain adult weight a month later.
Territorial and sheltering behaviors
Individual feeding territories vary in size from 0.4 to 62 km2
(0.15 to 24 sq mi), with the general concentration of
coyotes in a given area depending on food abundance, adequate denning
sites, and competition with conspecifics and other predators. The
coyote generally does not defend its territory outside of the denning
season, and is much less aggressive towards intruders than the
wolf is, typically chasing and sparring with them, but rarely killing
them. Conflicts between coyotes can arise during times of food
Like wolves, coyotes use a den (usually the deserted holes of other
species) when gestating and rearing young, though they may
occasionally give birth under sagebrushes in the open.
Coyote dens can
be located in canyons, washouts, coulees, banks, rock bluffs, or level
ground. Some dens have been found under abandoned homestead shacks,
grain bins, drainage pipes, railroad tracks, hollow logs, thickets,
and thistles. The den is continuously dug and cleaned out by the
female until the pups are born. Should the den be disturbed or
infested with fleas, the pups are moved into another den. A coyote den
can have several entrances and passages branching out from the main
chamber. A single den can be used year after year.
Hunting and feeding behaviors
While the popular consensus is that olfaction is very important for
hunting, two studies that experimentally investigated the role of
olfactory, auditory, and visual cues found that visual cues are the
most important ones for hunting in red foxes and coyotes.
When hunting large prey, the coyote often works in pairs or small
groups. Success in killing large ungulates depends on factors such
as snow depth and crust density. Younger animals usually avoid
participating in such hunts, with the breeding pair typically doing
most of the work. Unlike the wolf, which attacks large prey from
the rear, the coyote approaches from the front, lacerating its prey's
head and throat. Like other canids, the coyote caches excess food.
Coyotes catch mouse-sized rodents by pouncing, whereas ground
squirrels are chased. Although coyotes can live in large groups, small
prey is typically caught singly. Coyotes have been observed to
kill porcupines in pairs, using their paws to flip the rodents on
their backs, then attacking the soft underbelly. Only old and
experienced coyotes can successfully prey on porcupines, with many
predation attempts by young coyotes resulting in them being injured by
their prey's quills. Coyotes sometimes urinate on their food,
possibly to claim ownership over it.
Coyotes may occasionally form mutualistic hunting relationships with
American badgers, assisting each other in digging up rodent prey.
The relationship between the two species may occasionally border on
apparent "friendship", as some coyotes have been observed laying their
heads on their badger companions or licking their faces without
protest. The amicable interactions between coyotes and badgers were
known to pre-Columbian civilizations, as shown on a Mexican jar dated
to 1250–1300 CE depicting the relationship between the two.
A coyote howling
Being both a gregarious and solitary animal, the variability of the
coyote's visual and vocal repertoire is intermediate between that of
the solitary foxes and the highly social wolf. The aggressive
behavior of the coyote bears more similarities to that of foxes than
it does that of wolves and dogs. An aggressive coyote arches its back
and lowers its tail. Unlike dogs, which solicit playful behavior
by performing a "play-bow" followed by a "play-leap", play in coyotes
consists of a bow, followed by side-to-side head flexions and a series
of "spins" and "dives". Although coyotes will sometimes bite their
playmates' scruff as dogs do, they typically approach low, and make
upward-directed bites. Pups fight each other regardless of sex,
while among adults, aggression is typically reserved for members of
the same sex. Combatants approach each other waving their tails and
snarling with their jaws open, though fights are typically silent.
Males tend to fight in a vertical stance, while females fight on all
four paws. Fights among females tend to be more serious than ones
among males, as females seize their opponents' forelegs, throat, and
The coyote has been described as "the most vocal of all [wild] North
American mammals". Its loudness and range of vocalizations was
the cause for its binomial name
Canis latrans, meaning "barking dog".
At least 11 different vocalizations are known in adult coyotes. These
sounds are divided into three categories: agonistic and alarm,
greeting, and contact. Vocalizations of the first category include
woofs, growls, huffs, barks, bark howls, yelps, and high-frequency
whines. Woofs are used as low-intensity threats or alarms, and are
usually heard near den sites, prompting the pups to immediately
retreat into their burrows. Growls are used as threats at short
distances, but have also been heard among pups playing and copulating
males. Huffs are high-intensity threat vocalizations produced by rapid
expiration of air. Barks can be classed as both long-distance threat
vocalizations and as alarm calls. Bark howls may serve similar
functions. Yelps are emitted as a sign of submission, while
high-frequency whines are produced by dominant animals acknowledging
the submission of subordinates. Greeting vocalizations include
low-frequency whines, 'wow-oo-wows', and group yip howls.
Low-frequency whines are emitted by submissive animals, and are
usually accompanied by tail wagging and muzzle nibbling. The sound
known as 'wow-oo-wow' has been described as a "greeting song". The
group yip howl is emitted when two or more pack members reunite, and
may be the final act of a complex greeting ceremony. Contact calls
include lone howls and group howls, as well as the previously
mentioned group yip howls. The lone howl is the most iconic sound of
the coyote, and may serve the purpose of announcing the presence of a
lone individual separated from its pack. Group howls are used as both
substitute group yip howls and as responses to either lone howls,
group howls, or group yip howls.
Urban coyote in Bernal Heights, San Francisco
Prior to the near extermination of wolves and cougars, the coyote was
most numerous in grasslands inhabited by bison, pronghorn, elk, and
other deer, doing particularly well in short-grass areas with prairie
dogs, though it was just as much at home in semiarid areas with
sagebrush and jackrabbits or in deserts inhabited by cactus, kangaroo
rats, and rattlesnakes. As long as it was not in direct competition
with the wolf, the coyote ranged from the Sonoran
Desert to the alpine
regions of adjoining mountains or the plains and mountainous areas of
Alberta. With the extermination of the wolf, the coyote's range
expanded to encompass broken forests from the tropics of
the northern slope of Alaska.
Coyotes walk around 5–16 kilometres (3–10 mi) per day, often
along trails such as logging roads and paths; they may use iced-over
rivers as travel routes in winter. They are often crepuscular, being
more active around evening and the beginning of the night than during
the day. Like many canids, coyotes are competent swimmers, reported to
be able to travel at least 0.8 kilometres (0.5 mi) across
Desert coyote at the
Desert Museum in Tucson Arizona
The coyote is roughly the North American equivalent to the Eurasian
golden jackal. Likewise, the coyote is highly versatile in its
choice of food, but is primarily carnivorous, with 90% of its diet
consisting of meat. Prey species include bison, deer, sheep, rabbits,
rodents, birds, amphibians (except toads), lizards, snakes, fish,
crustaceans, and insects. Coyotes may be picky over the prey they
target, as animals such as shrews, moles, and brown rats do not occur
in their diet in proportion to their numbers. More unusual prey
include fishers, young black bear cubs, harp seals and
rattlesnakes. Coyotes kill rattlesnakes mostly for food (but also to
protect their pups at their dens) by teasing the snakes until they
stretch out and then biting their heads and snapping and shaking the
snakes. In Death Valley, coyotes may consume great quantities of
hawkmoth caterpillars or beetles in the spring flowering months.
Although coyotes prefer fresh meat, they will scavenge when the
opportunity presents itself. Excluding the insects, fruit, and grass
eaten, the coyote requires an estimated 600 g (1.3 lb) of
food daily, or 250 kg (550 lb) annually. The coyote
readily cannibalizes the carcasses of conspecifics, with coyote fat
having been successfully used by coyote hunters as a lure or poisoned
bait. The coyote's winter diet consists mainly of large ungulate
carcasses, with very little plant matter.
Rodent prey increases in
importance during the spring, summer, and fall.
The coyote feeds on a variety of different produce, including
blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, apples, prickly pears,
chapotes, persimmons, peanuts, watermelons, cantaloupes, and carrots.
During the winter and early spring, the coyote eats large quantities
of grass, such as green wheat blades. It sometimes eats unusual items
such as cotton cake, soybean meal, domestic animal droppings, beans,
and cultivated grain such as corn, wheat, and sorghum.
Enemies and competitors
Comparative illustration of coyote and gray wolf
Mountain coyotes (C. l. lestes) cornering a juvenile cougar
In areas where the ranges of coyotes and gray wolves overlap,
interference competition and predation by wolves has been hypothesized
to limit local coyote densities.
Coyote ranges expanded during the
19th and 20th centuries following the extirpation of wolves, while
coyotes were driven to extinction on
Isle Royale after wolves
colonized the island in the 1940s. One study conducted in Yellowstone
National Park, where both species coexist, concluded that the coyote
population in the
Lamar River Valley declined by 39% following the
reintroduction of wolves in the 1990s, while coyote populations in
wolf inhabited areas of the
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park are 33% lower
than in areas where they are absent. Wolves have been
observed to not tolerate coyotes in their vicinity, though coyotes
have been known to trail wolves to feed on their kills.
Coyotes rarely kill healthy adult red foxes, and have been observed to
feed or den alongside them, though they often kill foxes caught in
traps. Coyotes may kill fox kits, but this is not a major source of
mortality. In southern California, coyotes frequently kill gray
foxes, and these smaller canids tend to avoid areas with high coyote
Coyotes may compete with cougars in some areas. In the eastern Sierra
Nevadas, coyotes compete with cougars over mule deer. Cougars usually
outcompete coyotes, and may kill them occasionally, thus reducing
coyote predation pressure on smaller carnivores such as foxes and
In some areas, coyotes share their ranges with bobcats. These two
similarly sized species rarely physically confront one another, though
bobcat populations tend to diminish in areas with high coyote
densities. However, several studies have demonstrated
interference competition between coyotes and bobcats, and in all cases
coyotes dominated the interaction. Multiple
researchers reported instances of coyotes
killing bobcats, whereas bobcats killing coyotes is more rare.
Coyotes attack bobcats using a bite-and-shake method similar to what
is used on medium-sized prey. Coyotes (both single individuals and
groups) have been known to occasionally kill bobcats – in most
cases, the bobcats were relatively small specimens, such as adult
females and juveniles. However, coyote attacks (by an unknown
number of coyotes) on adult male bobcats have occurred. In California,
coyote and bobcat populations are not negatively correlated across
different habitat types, but predation by coyotes is an important
source of mortality in bobcats. Biologist Stanley Paul Young
noted that in his entire trapping career, he had never successfully
saved a captured bobcat from being killed by coyotes, and wrote of two
incidents wherein coyotes chased bobcats up trees. Coyotes have
been documented to directly kill
Canadian lynx on
occasion, and compete with them for prey, especially
snowshoe hares. In some areas, including central Alberta, lynx
are more abundant where coyotes are few, thus interactions with
coyotes appears to influence lynx populations more than the
availability of snowshoe hares.
Range of coyote subspecies as of 1978, (1) Mexican coyote, (2) San
Pedro Martir coyote, (3) Salvador coyote, (4) southeastern coyote, (5)
Belize coyote, (6) Honduras coyote, (7)
Durango coyote, (8) northern
Tiburón Island coyote, (10) plains coyote, (11) mountain
coyote, (12) Mearns' coyote, (13) Lower
Rio Grande coyote, (14)
California valley coyote, (15) peninsula coyote, (16) Texas plains
coyote, (17) northeastern coyote, (18) northwest coast coyote, (19)
Colima coyote, (20) eastern coyote
Due to the coyote's wide range and abundance throughout North America,
it is listed as least concern by the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The coyote's pre-Columbian range was
limited to the Southwest and Plains regions of the United States and
Canada, and northern and central Mexico. By the 19th century, the
species expanded north and east, expanding further after 1900,
coinciding with land conversion and the extirpation of wolves. By this
time, its range encompassed all of the United States and Mexico,
southward into Central America, and northward into most of Canada and
Alaska. This expansion is ongoing, and the species now occupies the
majority of areas between 8°N (Panama) and 70°N (northern
Although it was once widely believed that coyotes are recent
immigrants to southern
Mexico and Central America, aided in their
expansion by deforestation, Pleistocene and Early
Holocene records, as
well as records from the pre-Columbian period and early European
colonization show that the animal was present in the area long before
modern times. Nevertheless, range expansion did occur south of Costa
Rica during the late 1970s and northern
Panama in the early 1980s,
following the expansion of cattle-grazing lands into tropical
rainforests. The coyote is predicted to appear in northern
the near future, as the habitat there is favorable to the
species. Concerns have been raised of a possible expansion into
South America through the Panamanian Isthmus, should the Darién Gap
ever be closed by the Pan-American Highway. This fear was
partially confirmed in January 2013, when the species was recorded in
eastern Panama's Chepo District, beyond the
A recent genetic study proposes that coyotes were originally not found
in the eastern United States. From the 1890s, dense forests were
transformed into agricultural land and wolf control implemented on a
large scale, leaving a niche for coyotes to disperse into. There were
two major dispersals from two populations of genetically distinct
coyotes. The first major dispersal to the northeast came in the early
twentieth century from those coyotes living in the northern Great
Plains. These came to
New England via northern Great Lakes region and
southern Canada, and to
Pennsylvania via the southern Great Lakes
region, meeting together in the 1940s in New York and Pennsylvania.
These coyotes have hybridized with the remnant gray wolf and Eastern
wolf populations, which has added to coyote genetic diversity and may
have assisted adaptation to the new niche. The second major dispersal
to the southeast came in the mid-20th century from Texas and reached
the Carolinas in the 1980s. These coyotes have hybridized with the
remnant red wolf populations before the 1970s when the red wolf was
extirpated in the wild, which has also added to coyote genetic
diversity and may have assisted adaptation to the new niche. Both of
these two major coyote dispersals have experienced rapid population
growth and are forecast to meet along the mid-Atlantic coast. The
study concludes that for coyotes the long range dispersal, gene flow
from local populations, and rapid population growth may be
Diseases and parasites
California valley coyote (C. l. ochropus) suffering from sarcoptic
Among large North American carnivores, the coyote probably carries the
largest number of diseases and parasites, likely due to its wide range
and varied diet.
Viral diseases known to infect coyotes include
rabies, canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, four strains of
equine encephalitis, and oral papillomatosis. By the late 1970s,
serious rabies outbreaks in coyotes had ceased to be a problem for
over 60 years, though sporadic cases every 1–5 years did occur.
Distemper causes the deaths of many pups in the wild, though some
specimens can survive infection. Tularemia, a bacterial disease,
infects coyotes through their rodent and lagomorph prey, and can be
deadly for pups.
Coyotes can be infected by both demodectic and sarcoptic mange, the
latter being the most common.
Mite infestations are rare and
incidental in coyotes, while tick infestations are more common, with
seasonal peaks depending on locality (May–August in the Northwest,
March–November in Arkansas). Coyotes are only rarely infested with
lice, while fleas infest coyotes from puphood, though they may be more
a source of irritation than serious illness.
Pulex simulans is the
most common species to infest coyotes, while Ctenocephalides canis
tends to occur only in places where coyotes and dogs (its primary
host) inhabit the same area. Although coyotes are rarely host to
flukes, they can nevertheless have serious effects on coyotes,
particularly Nanophyetus salmincola, which can infect them with salmon
poisoning disease, a disease with a 90% mortality rate. Trematode
Metorchis conjunctus can also infect coyotes. Tapeworms have been
recorded to infest 60–95% of all coyotes examined. The most common
species to infest coyotes are
Taenia pisiformis and T. crassiceps,
which uses cottontail rabbits as intermediate hosts. The largest
species known in coyotes is T. hydatigena, which enters coyotes
through infected ungulates, and can grow to lengths of 80 to
400 cm (31 to 157 in). Though once largely limited to
Echinococcus granulosus has expanded to coyotes since the
latter began colonizing former wolf ranges. The most frequent ascaroid
roundworm in coyotes is Toxascaris leonina, which dwells in the
coyote's small intestine and has no ill effects, except for causing
the host to eat more frequently. Hookworms of the genus Ancylostoma
infest coyotes throughout their range, being particularly prevalent in
humid areas. In areas of high moisture, such as coastal Texas, coyotes
can carry up to 250 hookworms each. The blood-drinking A. caninum is
particularly dangerous, as it damages the coyote through blood loss
and lung congestion. A 10-day-old pup can die from being host to as
few as 25 A. caninum worms.
Relationships with humans
Further information: Urban coyote
In folklore and mythology
Coyote features as a trickster figure and skin-walker in the folktales
of some Native Americans in the United States, notably several nations
in the Southwestern and Plains regions, where he alternately assumes
the form of an actual coyote or that of a man. As with other trickster
Coyote acts as a picaresque hero who rebels against social
convention through deception and humor. Folklorists such as
Harris belief coyotes came to be seen as tricksters due to the
animal's intelligence and adaptability. After the European
colonization of the Americas, Anglo-American depictions of
of a cowardly and untrustworthy animal. Unlike the gray wolf,
which has undergone a radical improvement of its public image,
Anglo-American cultural attitudes towards the coyote remain largely
Maidu creation story,
Coyote introduces work, suffering, and
death to the world. Zuni lore has
winter into the world by stealing light from the kachinas.[citation
needed] The Chinook, Maidu, Pawnee, Tohono O'odham, and Ute portray
the coyote as the companion of The Creator. A
Tohono O'odham flood
Coyote helping Montezuma survive a global deluge that
destroys humanity. After The Creator creates humanity,
Montezuma teach people how to live. The Crow creation story portrays
Coyote as The Creator. In The Dineh creation
Coyote was present in the First World with First Man and First
Woman, though a different version has it being created in the Fourth
World. The Navajo
Coyote brings death into the world,
explaining that without death, too many people would exist, thus no
room to plant corn.
Mural from Atetelco,
Teotihuacán depicting coyote warriors.
Prior to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire,
Coyote played a
significant role in Mesoamerican cosmology. The coyote symbolized
military might in Classic era Teotihuacan, with warriors dressing up
in coyote costumes to call upon its predatory power. The species
continued to be linked to Central Mexican warrior cults in the
centuries leading up to the post-Classic Aztec rule. In Aztec
mythology, Huehuecóyotl (meaning "old coyote"), the god of dance,
music and carnality, is depicted in several codices as a man with a
coyote's head. He is sometimes depicted as a womanizer,
responsible for bringing war into the world by seducing Xochiquetzal,
the goddess of love. Epigrapher
David H. Kelley argued that the
god Quetzalcoatl owed its origins to pre-Aztec Uto-Aztecan
mythological depictions of the coyote, which is portrayed as mankind's
"Elder Brother", a creator, seducer, trickster, and culture hero
linked to the morning star.
Attacks on humans
Coyote attacks on humans
A sign discouraging people from feeding coyotes, which can lead to
them habituating themselves to human presence, thus increasing the
likelihood of attacks
Coyote attacks on humans
Coyote attacks on humans are uncommon and rarely cause serious
injuries, due to the relatively small size of the coyote, but have
been increasingly frequent, especially in California. There have been
two confirmed fatal attacks: one on a three-year-old named Kelly Keen
in Glendale, California and another on a nineteen-year-old named
Taylor Mitchell in Nova Scotia, Canada. In the 30 years leading
up to March 2006, at least 160 attacks occurred in the United States,
mostly in the
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County area. Data from United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services, the California
Fish and Game, and other sources show that while 41
attacks occurred during the period of 1988–1997, 48 attacks were
verified from 1998 through 2003. The majority of these incidents
occurred in Southern
California near the suburban-wildland
In the absence of the harassment of coyotes practiced by rural people,
urban coyotes are losing their fear of humans, which is further
worsened by people intentionally or unintentionally feeding coyotes.
In such situations, some coyotes have begun to act aggressively toward
humans, chasing joggers and bicyclists, confronting people walking
their dogs, and stalking small children. Non-rabid coyotes in
these areas sometimes target small children, mostly under the age of
10, though some adults have been bitten.
Although media reports of such attacks generally identify the animals
in question as simply "coyotes", research into the genetics of the
eastern coyote indicates those involved in attacks in northeast North
America, including Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and eastern
Canada, may have actually been coywolves, hybrids of
Canis latrans and
C. lupus, not fully coyotes.
Livestock and pet predation
Coyote confronting a dog
Coyotes are presently the most abundant livestock predators in western
North America, causing the majority of sheep, goat, and cattle
losses. For example, according to the National Agricultural
Statistics Service, coyotes were responsible for 60.5% of the 224,000
sheep deaths attributed to predation in 2004. The total number of
sheep deaths in 2004 comprised 2.22% of the total sheep and lamb
population in the United States, which, according to the National
Agricultural Statistics Service USDA report, totaled 4.66 million and
7.80 million heads respectively as of July 1, 2005. Because
coyote populations are typically many times greater and more widely
distributed than those of wolves, coyotes cause more overall predation
losses. The United States government agents routinely shoot, poison,
trap, and kill about 90,000 coyotes each year to protect
livestock. An Idaho census taken in 2005 showed that individual
coyotes were 5% as likely to attack livestock as individual
Livestock guardian dogs are commonly used to aggressively repel
predators and have worked well in both fenced pasture and range
operations. A 1986 survey of sheep producers in the USA found
that 82% reported the use of dogs represented an economic asset.
Re-wilding cattle, which involves increasing the natural protective
tendencies of cattle, is a method for controlling coyotes discussed by
Temple Grandin of
Colorado State University. This method is
gaining popularity among producers who allow their herds to calve on
the range and whose cattle graze open pastures throughout the
Coyotes typically bite the throat just behind the jaw and below the
ear when attacking adult sheep or goats, with death commonly resulting
from suffocation. Blood loss is usually a secondary cause of death.
Calves and heavily fleeced sheep are killed by attacking the flanks or
hindquarters, causing shock and blood loss. When attacking smaller
prey, such as young lambs, the kill is made by biting the skull and
spinal regions, causing massive tissue and bone damage. Small or young
prey may be completely carried off, leaving only blood as evidence of
a kill. Coyotes usually leave the hide and most of the skeleton of
larger animals relatively intact, unless food is scarce, in which case
they may leave only the largest bones. Scattered bits of wool, skin,
and other parts are characteristic where coyotes feed extensively on
Coyote with a typical throat hold on domestic sheep
Tracks are an important factor in distinguishing coyote from dog
Coyote tracks tend to be more oval-shaped and compact than
those of domestic dogs, and their claw marks are less prominent and
the tracks tend to follow a straight line more closely than those of
dogs. With the exception of sighthounds, most dogs of similar weight
to coyotes have a slightly shorter stride.
Coyote kills can be
distinguished from wolf kills by less damage to the underlying tissues
in the former. Also, coyote scat tends to be smaller than wolf
Coyotes are often attracted to dog food and animals that are small
enough to appear as prey. Items such as garbage, pet food, and
sometimes feeding stations for birds and squirrels attract coyotes
into backyards. About three to five pets attacked by coyotes are
brought into the
Animal Urgent Care hospital of South Orange County
(California) each week, the majority of which are dogs, since cats
typically do not survive the attacks. Scat analysis collected
near Claremont, California, revealed that coyotes relied heavily on
pets as a food source in winter and spring. At one location in
Southern California, coyotes began relying on a colony of feral cats
as a food source. Over time, the coyotes killed most of the cats, and
then continued to eat the cat food placed daily at the colony site by
people who were maintaining the cat colony. Coyotes usually
attack smaller-sized dogs, but they have been known to attack even
large, powerful breeds such as the
Rottweiler in exceptional
cases. Dogs larger than coyotes, such as greyhounds, are
generally able to drive them off, and have been known to kill
coyotes. Smaller breeds are more likely to suffer injury or
Fur of a Canadian coyote
Prior to the mid-19th century, coyote fur was considered worthless.
This changed with the diminution of beavers, and by 1860, the hunting
of coyotes for their fur became a great source of income (75 cents to
$1.50 per skin) for wolfers in the Great Plains.
Coyote pelts were of
significant economic importance during the early 1950s, ranging in
price from $5 to $25 per pelt, depending on locality. The
coyote's fur is not durable enough to make rugs, but can be used
for coats and jackets, scarves, or muffs. The majority of pelts are
used for making trimmings, such as coat collars and sleeves for
Coyote fur is sometimes dyed black as imitation
Coyotes were occasionally eaten by trappers and mountain men during
the western expansion. Coyotes sometimes featured in the feasts of the
Plains Indians, and coyote pups were eaten by the indigenous people of
San Gabriel, California. The taste of coyote meat has been likened to
that of the wolf, and is more tender than pork when boiled. Coyote
fat, when taken in the fall, has been used on occasion to grease
leather or eaten as a spread.
Coyotes were probably semidomesticated by various pre-Columbian
cultures. Some 19th-century writers wrote of coyotes being kept in
native villages in the Great Plains. The coyote is easily tamed as a
pup, but can become destructive as an adult. Both full-blooded
and hybrid coyotes can be playful and confiding with their owners, but
are suspicious and shy of strangers, though coyotes being
tractable enough to be used for practical purposes like
retrieving and pointing have been recorded. A tame coyote
named "Butch", caught in the summer of 1945, had a short-lived career
in cinema, appearing in Smoky and Ramrod before being shot while
raiding a henhouse.
^ The name "cased wolf" originates from the fact that the coyote's
skin was historically cased like that of the muskrat, whereas the
wolf's was spread out flat like the beaver's.
^ a b c Tedford, Richard H.; Wang, Xiaoming; Taylor, Beryl E. (2009).
"Phylogenetic Systematics of the North American Fossil Caninae
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^ a b c Young & Jackson 1978, pp. 63–4
^ a b Young & Jackson 1978, pp. 50–53
^ Young & Jackson 1978, p. 247
^ a b
Fox 1978, p. 105
^ "Sharing the Land with Wolves" (PDF).
Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources. 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
^ Cartaino 2011, p. 16
^ Young & Jackson 1978, p. 59
^ Vantassel, Stephen (2012). "Coyotes". Wildlife Damage Inspection
Handbook (3rd ed.). Lincoln, Nebraska: Wildlife Control Consultant.
p. 112. ISBN 978-0-9668582-5-9. OCLC 794471798.
^ Nowak 1979, p. 14
^ Hoffmeister, Donald F. (2002). Mammals of Illinois. University of
Illinois Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-252-07083-9.
^ a b Mussulman, Joseph (November 2004). "Coyote". Discovering Lewis
& Clark. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
^ Mussulman, Joseph (November 2004). "Thomas Say,
Discovering Lewis & Clark. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
^ a b Clavijero, Francisco Javier; Cullen, Charles (1817). The history
of Mexico : collected from Spanish and Mexican historians, from
manuscripts and ancient paintings of the Indians : together with
the conquest of
Mexico by the Spaniards : illustrated by
engravings with critical dissertations on the land, the animals, and
inhabitants of Mexico. 1. Philadelphia: Thomas Dobson. p. 57.
^ Bullock, W. (1824). Six months' residence and travels in Mexico:
containing remarks on the present state of New Spain, its natural
productions, state of society, manufactures, trade, agriculture, and
antiquities, &c. : with plates and maps. London: John Murray,
Albemarle-Street. pp. 119, 261.
^ a b c d e f Seton 1909, p. 789
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April 3, 2012.
^ Grandin, Temple (2015-02-26). "Experts say ranching done right
improves the environment and wildlife habitat". Beef Magazine.
^ "Bred Cows, Bred Heifers, Feeder Calves". Rhino's Beef & Farm
Raised Aussies. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
^ "Ranchers' Guide to Wolf Depredation".
Montana State University.
2006. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved July 1,
2016. CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
^ Rollins, Dale. "Coping With Coyotes: Management Alternatives for
Minimizing Livestock Losses" (PDF). Texas Agricultural Extension
Service. pp. 4–7. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
^ Hardesty, Greg (May 5, 2005). "For coyotes, pets are prey". Greg
Hardesty. Orange County Register. Archived from the original on July
^ "A coyote attacks in Weymouth and kills a dog". WHDH-TV – New
England News. May 14, 2007
^ Macur, Juliet (2010). "
Coyote vs. Greyhound: The Battle Lines Are
Drawn". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
^ a b Young & Jackson 1978, pp. 115–116
^ Seton 1909, p. 816
^ Young & Jackson 1978, pp. 119–21
^ a b Young & Jackson 1978, pp. 64–9
^ Schultz, J. W. (1962). Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life Among
the Indians. University of
Oklahoma Press. pp. 141–3.
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Coyote Blends In as Best
for Durham Man". The Oklahoman. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
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Need to Know about America's Most Misunderstood Predator.
Readhowyouwant.com. ISBN 978-1-4587-2668-1.
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STPM Press. ISBN 978-0-8240-9858-2. OCLC 3223381.
Nowak, R. M. (1979). North American Quaternary Canis. Lawrence,
Kans. : Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas.
Seton, E. T. (1909). Life-histories of northern animals : an
account of the mammals of Manitoba. New York City: Scribner.
Young, S. P.; Jackson, H. H. T. (1978). The Clever Coyote. University
of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-5893-8.
Dixon, J. S. (1920). Control of the coyote in California. Berkeley,
Cal. : Agricultural Experiment Station
Flores, D. (2016).
Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History.
Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-05299-8
Harding, A. R. (1909). Wolf and coyote trapping; an up-to-date wolf
hunter's guide, giving the most successful methods of experienced
"wolfers" for hunting and trapping these animals, also gives their
habits in detail. Columbus, Ohio, A. R. Harding pub. co.
Kurtén, B (1974). "A history of coyote-like dogs (Canidae,
Mammalia)". Acta Zoologica Fennica. 140: 1–38.
Leydet, François (1988). The Coyote: Defiant Songdog of the West.
Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2123-9.
Morey, Paul (2004). Landscape use and diet of coyotes,
in the Chicago metropolitan area (Thesis).
Murie, A. (1940). Ecology of the coyote in the Yellowstone.
Washington, D.C. : U.S. G.P.O.
Parker, Gerry. (1995). "Eastern Coyote: Story of Its Success", Nimbus
Publishing, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
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American West. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
Wagner, M. M. (c. 1920). The autobiography of a tame coyote. San
Francisco, Harr Wagner pub. co.
Shelly, Priya (June 2016). Living with
Coyote (18 minutes). Aeon
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Wikispecies has information related to
Look up coyote in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Media related to
Coyote at Wikimedia Commons
"Coyote". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). 1911.
Canis latrans". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved
March 23, 2006.
Arizona Game &
Fish Department, "Living with Coyotes"
Western coyote, Wolf and
Coyote DNA Bank @ Trent University
View occurrences of "
Canis latrans" in the Biodiversity Heritage
African palm civet
African palm civet (N. binotata)
Marsh mongoose (A. paludinosus)
Bushy-tailed mongoose (B. crassicauda)
Jackson's mongoose (B. jacksoni)
Black-footed mongoose (B. nigripes)
Alexander's kusimanse (C. alexandri)
Angolan kusimanse (C. ansorgei)
Common kusimanse (C. obscurus)
Flat-headed kusimanse (C. platycephalus)
Yellow mongoose (C. penicillata)
Pousargues's mongoose (D. dybowskii)
Angolan slender mongoose
Angolan slender mongoose (G. flavescens)
Black mongoose (G. nigrata)
Somalian slender mongoose
Somalian slender mongoose (G. ochracea)
Cape gray mongoose
Cape gray mongoose (G. pulverulenta)
Slender mongoose (G. sanguinea)
Ethiopian dwarf mongoose
Ethiopian dwarf mongoose (H. hirtula)
Common dwarf mongoose
Common dwarf mongoose (H. parvula)
Short-tailed mongoose (H. brachyurus)
Indian gray mongoose
Indian gray mongoose (H. edwardsii)
Indian brown mongoose
Indian brown mongoose (H. fuscus)
Egyptian mongoose (H. ichneumon)
Small Asian mongoose
Small Asian mongoose (H. javanicus)
Long-nosed mongoose (H. naso)
Collared mongoose (H. semitorquatus)
Ruddy mongoose (H. smithii)
Crab-eating mongoose (H. urva)
Stripe-necked mongoose (H. vitticollis)
White-tailed mongoose (I. albicauda)
Liberian mongoose (L. kuhni)
Gambian mongoose (M. gambianus)
Banded mongoose (M. mungo)
Selous' mongoose (P. selousi)
Meller's mongoose (R. melleri)
Meerkat (S. suricatta)
Spotted hyena (C. crocuta)
Brown hyena (H. brunnea)
Striped hyena (H. hyaena)
Aardwolf (P. cristatus)
Large family listed below
Large family listed below
Small family listed below
Cheetah (A. jubatus)
Caracal (C. caracal)
African golden cat
African golden cat (C. aurata)
Bay cat (C. badia)
Asian golden cat
Asian golden cat (C. temminckii)
European wildcat (F. silvestris)
African wildcat (F. lybica)
Jungle cat (F. chaus)
Black-footed cat (F. nigripes)
Sand cat (F. margarita)
Chinese mountain cat
Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti)
Domestic cat (F. catus)
Ocelot (L. pardalis)
Margay (L. wiedii)
Pampas cat (L. colocola)
Geoffroy's cat (L. geoffroyi)
Kodkod (L. guigna)
Andean mountain cat
Andean mountain cat (L. jacobita)
Oncilla (L. tigrinus)
Southern tigrina (L. guttulus)
Serval (L. serval)
Canadian lynx (L. canadensis)
Eurasian lynx (L. lynx)
Iberian lynx (L. pardinus)
Bobcat (L. rufus)
Pallas's cat (O. manul)
Marbled cat (P. marmorata)
Fishing cat (P. viverrinus)
Leopard cat (P. bengalensis)
Sundaland leopard cat (P. javanensis)
Flat-headed cat (P. planiceps)
Rusty-spotted cat (P. rubiginosus)
Cougar (P. concolor)
Jaguarundi (H. yagouaroundi)
Lion (P. leo)
Jaguar (P. onca)
Leopard (P. pardus)
Tiger (P. tigris)
Snow leopard (P. uncia)
Clouded leopard (N. nebulosa)
Sunda clouded leopard
Sunda clouded leopard (N. diardi)
Viverridae (includes Civets)
Binturong (A. binturong)
Small-toothed palm civet
Small-toothed palm civet (A. trivirgata)
Sulawesi palm civet
Sulawesi palm civet (M. musschenbroekii)
Masked palm civet
Masked palm civet (P. larvata)
Golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus)
Asian palm civet
Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)
Jerdon's palm civet (P. jerdoni)
Golden palm civet
Golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)
Owston's palm civet
Owston's palm civet (C. owstoni)
Otter civet (C. bennettii)
Hose's palm civet
Hose's palm civet (D. hosei)
Banded palm civet
Banded palm civet (H. derbyanus)
Banded linsang (P. linsang)
Spotted linsang (P. pardicolor)
African civet (C. civetta)
Abyssinian genet (G. abyssinica)
Angolan genet (G. angolensis)
Bourlon's genet (G. bourloni)
Crested servaline genet
Crested servaline genet (G. cristata)
Common genet (G. genetta)
Johnston's genet (G. johnstoni)
Rusty-spotted genet (G. maculata)
Pardine genet (G. pardina)
Aquatic genet (G. piscivora)
King genet (G. poensis)
Servaline genet (G. servalina)
Haussa genet (G. thierryi)
Cape genet (G. tigrina)
Giant forest genet
Giant forest genet (G. victoriae)
African linsang (P. richardsonii)
Leighton's linsang (P. leightoni)
Malabar large-spotted civet
Malabar large-spotted civet (V. civettina)
Large-spotted civet (V. megaspila)
Malayan civet (V. tangalunga)
Large Indian civet
Large Indian civet (V. zibetha)
Small Indian civet
Small Indian civet (V. indica)
Fossa (C. ferox)
Eastern falanouc (E. goudotii)
Western falanouc (E. major)
Malagasy civet (F. fossana)
Ring-tailed mongoose (G. elegans)
Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose
Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose (G. fasciata)
Grandidier's mongoose (G. grandidieri)
Narrow-striped mongoose (M. decemlineata)
Brown-tailed mongoose (S. concolor)
Durrell's vontsira (S. durrelli)
Caniformia (cont. below)
Giant panda (A. melanoleuca)
Sun bear (H. malayanus)
Sloth bear (M. ursinus)
Spectacled bear (T. ornatus)
American black bear
American black bear (U. americanus)
Brown bear (U. arctos)
Polar bear (U. maritimus)
Asian black bear
Asian black bear (U. thibetanus)
Molina's hog-nosed skunk
Molina's hog-nosed skunk (C. chinga)
Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk
Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk (C. humboldtii)
American hog-nosed skunk
American hog-nosed skunk (C. leuconotus)
Striped hog-nosed skunk
Striped hog-nosed skunk (C. semistriatus)
Hooded skunk (M. macroura)
Striped skunk (M. mephitis)
Sunda stink badger
Sunda stink badger (M. javanensis)
Palawan stink badger
Palawan stink badger (M. marchei)
Southern spotted skunk
Southern spotted skunk (S. angustifrons)
Western spotted skunk
Western spotted skunk (S. gracilis)
Eastern spotted skunk
Eastern spotted skunk (S. putorius)
Pygmy spotted skunk
Pygmy spotted skunk (S. pygmaea)
Eastern lowland olingo
Eastern lowland olingo (B. alleni)
Northern olingo (B. gabbii)
Western lowland olingo
Western lowland olingo (B. medius)
Olinguito (B. neblina)
Ring-tailed cat (B. astutus)
Cacomistle (B. sumichrasti)
White-nosed coati (N. narica)
South American coati
South American coati (N. nasua)
Western mountain coati (N. olivacea)
Eastern mountain coati (N. meridensis)
Kinkajou (P. flavus)
Crab-eating raccoon (P. cancrivorus)
Raccoon (P. lotor)
Cozumel raccoon (P. pygmaeus)
Red panda (A. fulgens)
Caniformia (cont. above)
(includes fur seals
and sea lions)
South American fur seal
South American fur seal (A. australis)
Australasian fur seal (A. forsteri)
Galápagos fur seal
Galápagos fur seal (A. galapagoensis)
Antarctic fur seal
Antarctic fur seal (A. gazella)
Juan Fernández fur seal
Juan Fernández fur seal (A. philippii)
Brown fur seal
Brown fur seal (A. pusillus)
Guadalupe fur seal
Guadalupe fur seal (A. townsendi)
Subantarctic fur seal
Subantarctic fur seal (A. tropicalis)
Northern fur seal
Northern fur seal (C. ursinus)
Steller sea lion
Steller sea lion (E. jubatus)
Australian sea lion
Australian sea lion (N. cinerea)
South American sea lion
South American sea lion (O. flavescens)
New Zealand sea lion
New Zealand sea lion (P. hookeri)
California sea lion (Z. californianus)
Galápagos sea lion
Galápagos sea lion (Z. wollebaeki)
Walrus (O. rosmarus)
Hooded seal (C. cristata)
Bearded seal (E. barbatus)
Gray seal (H. grypus)
Ribbon seal (H. fasciata)
Leopard seal (H. leptonyx)
Weddell seal (L. weddellii)
Crabeater seal (L. carcinophagus)
Northern elephant seal
Northern elephant seal (M. angustirostris)
Southern elephant seal
Southern elephant seal (M. leonina)
Mediterranean monk seal
Mediterranean monk seal (M. monachus)
Hawaiian monk seal
Hawaiian monk seal (M. schauinslandi)
Ross seal (O. rossi)
Harp seal (P. groenlandicus)
Spotted seal (P. largha)
Harbor seal (P. vitulina)
Caspian seal (P. caspica)
Ringed seal (P. hispida)
Baikal seal (P. sibirica)
Large family listed below
Large family listed below
Canidae (includes dogs)
Short-eared dog (A. microtis)
Side-striped jackal (C. adustus)
African golden wolf
African golden wolf (C. anthus)
Golden jackal (C. aureus)
Coyote (C. latrans)
Gray wolf (C. lupus)
Black-backed jackal (C. mesomelas)
Red wolf (C. rufus)
Ethiopian wolf (C. simensis)
Crab-eating fox (C. thous)
Maned wolf (C. brachyurus)
Dhole (C. alpinus)
Culpeo (L. culpaeus)
Darwin's fox (L. fulvipes)
South American gray fox
South American gray fox (L. griseus)
Pampas fox (L. gymnocercus)
Sechuran fox (L. sechurae)
Hoary fox (L. vetulus)
African wild dog
African wild dog (L. pictus)
Raccoon dog (N. procyonoides)
Bat-eared fox (O. megalotis)
Bush dog (S. venaticus)
Gray fox (U. cinereoargenteus)
Island fox (U. littoralis)
Bengal fox (V. bengalensis)
Blanford's fox (V. cana)
Cape fox (V. chama)
Corsac fox (V. corsac)
Tibetan sand fox
Tibetan sand fox (V. ferrilata)
Arctic fox (V. lagopus)
Kit fox (V. macrotis)
Pale fox (V. pallida)
Rüppell's fox (V. rueppelli)
Swift fox (V. velox)
Red fox (V. vulpes)
Fennec fox (V. zerda)
African clawless otter
African clawless otter (A. capensis)
Oriental small-clawed otter
Oriental small-clawed otter (A. cinerea)
Sea otter (E. lutris)
Spotted-necked otter (H. maculicollis)
North American river otter
North American river otter (L. canadensis)
Marine otter (L. felina)
Neotropical otter (L. longicaudis)
Southern river otter
Southern river otter (L. provocax)
Eurasian otter (L. lutra)
Hairy-nosed otter (L. sumatrana)
Smooth-coated otter (L. perspicillata)
Giant otter (P. brasiliensis)
Hog badger (A. collaris)
Tayra (E. barbara)
Lesser grison (G. cuja)
Greater grison (G. vittata)
Wolverine (G. gulo)
Saharan striped polecat
Saharan striped polecat (I. libyca)
Striped polecat (I. striatus)
Patagonian weasel (L. patagonicus)
American marten (M. americana)
Yellow-throated marten (M. flavigula)
Beech marten (M. foina)
Nilgiri marten (M. gwatkinsii)
European pine marten
European pine marten (M. martes)
Japanese marten (M. melampus)
Sable (M. zibellina)
Fisher (P. pennanti)
Japanese badger (M. anakuma)
Asian badger (M. leucurus)
European badger (M. meles)
Honey badger (M. capensis)
Bornean ferret-badger (M. everetti)
Chinese ferret-badger (M. moschata)
Javan ferret-badger (M. orientalis)
Burmese ferret-badger (M. personata)
(Weasels and Ferrets)
Amazon weasel (M. africana)
Mountain weasel (M. altaica)
Stoat (M. erminea)
Steppe polecat (M. eversmannii)
Colombian weasel (M. felipei)
Long-tailed weasel (M. frenata)
Japanese weasel (M. itatsi)
Yellow-bellied weasel (M. kathiah)
European mink (M. lutreola)
Indonesian mountain weasel
Indonesian mountain weasel (M. lutreolina)
Black-footed ferret (M. nigripes)
Least weasel (M. nivalis)
Malayan weasel (M. nudipes)
European polecat (M. putorius)
Siberian weasel (M. sibirica)
Back-striped weasel (M. strigidorsa)
Egyptian weasel (M. subpalmata)
American mink (N. vison)
African striped weasel
African striped weasel (P. albinucha)
American badger (T. taxus)
Marbled polecat (V. peregusna)
Game animals and shooting in North America
Snipe (common snipe)
Cougar (mountain lion)
Big game hunting