Genus: Canis
Species: latrans

Coyotes can weigh from 15 to 44 lbs. Their bodies are 30 to 40 inches long and their tail is 12 to 16 inches long. They are about 15 to 20 inches tall. Their fur is grayish tan. They have a long pointed nose and large ears.

Coyotes can live almost anywhere. They now live in most of North America and Central America, from Alaska to Nova Scotia and Panama. They even live in the suburbs of large cities. People have even blamed them for eating their pets. But the coyote's original habitat was the big open grassland.

Coyotes become mature in 1-2 years, and have about 2 to 12 puppies, but usually 6. Dad stays with his family and both parents take care of the puppies.

When there is lots of prey around, coyotes will hunt alone or in breeding pairs. They eat mainly small mammals, like rabbits and mice, reptiles, fruit, insects. When there is only large prey, like deer, coyotes will form packs of three to eight members. They will stay together only as long as they need each other.

Coyotes are very intelligent. They have a terrific sense of smell which they use to locate prey. Their hearing is very sharp too. They use their ears to tell other coyotes how they feel and what rank they are in the pack.

When coyotes move into a place, they easily upset the balance of that place. They can kill the population of small mammals in a few years. Without the rabbits and mice to eat them, plants will grow tall. Shrubs will crowd together and kill off the grasses. The animals that were depending on the grasses can not live there anymore and will die or move away.

In some parts of Canada and the U.S. there are so many coyotes that they are controlled by an open hunting and trapping season. The same controls have wiped the coyote out in Texas and most of North Dakota. The coyote is protected in 12 states in the US.

Amanda K. 2000.



"Coyote". Wildlife Explorer. USA : International Master Publishers. 1998.


World Biomes