Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Coyote (Canis latrans)
Range North America
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Canidae
Genus Canis
Species Canis Latrans
Conservation Status
Least Concern


Coyotes are medium-sized dog-like animals with small feet, slender legs, a narrow pointed muzzle, and erect pointed ears. There are four toes on each foot, with claws, and a smaller fifth toe with a dewclaw, which does not come into contact with the ground. Its color is reddish, grayish, or yellowish-brown streaked with black, with paler underparts. There is a black patch at the tip and base of the tail, and on the front of the ankles. The upper parts of the feet, nape, muzzle, backs of the ears, and outer surfaces of the legs are reddish-brown or tan.


Coyotes reside in North America, roaming the plains, mountains, forests, and deserts of the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Coyote populations are widespread and abundant across much of North America. An estimated over 5 million coyotes persist in the Western United States, with some of the highest densities occurring in states like California at approximately 750,000 and Texas at around 650,000. The open rangelands and desert habitats of the western states support large coyote numbers. States like North Dakota harbor around 200,000 coyotes, with prairie lands providing ample habitat and prey. As human development expanded eastward, coyotes followed and an estimated over 1.5 million now inhabit the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. Western Canada is also home to sizable coyote populations, such as around 750,000 in provinces like Saskatchewan. Eastern Canada has approximately 250,000 coyotes scattered across Ontario, Quebec and the territories. Mexican coyote population data is limited but experts speculate over 1 million reside throughout northern Mexico and possibly lower densities in Central American regions, supported by arid landscapes.


Coyotes are gregarious animals; they live in packs and hunt individually, in pairs, or in with a family group, depending on the availability of prey. They are often crepuscular, being more active around the evening and the beginning of the night than during the day. Their dens are made in rocky crevices, caves, logs, or another animal's abandoned den. Coyotes usually don't make their own den but will find a badger or a fox's den and enlarge it. They are very vocal animals and their sounds include barks, yips, growls, whines, and howls. A long howl is used to inform other members of the pack of its whereabouts, and short barks are used to warn of danger.


Coyotes are primarily carnivorous and 90% of their diet consists of mammals, mostly small mammals, including eastern cottontail rabbits, white-footed mice, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels. They sometimes eat snakes, birds, large insects, and other big invertebrates. They like fresh meat, but will also eat carrion. Coyotes also supplement their diet with plants, especially during autumn and winter; these include leaves of white cedar and balsam fir, apples, and strawberry.


Coyotes are monogamous and will stay with their mate for life. They breed from February to March. In spring, the female will make dens to prepare for its young. The gestation period is 63 days, after which a litter of 3 to 12 is produced. The pups are born altricial and are completely dependent on milk for their first 10 days. Within 21 to 28 days, they start to come out of the den, being fully weaned at 35 days. Both parents take care of the pups, with the male bringing food for the female and pups, and helping with protection from predators. Young coyotes become reproductively mature and start to breed when they are 20 to 22 months old.



There are no major or even minor threats to coyote populations throughout their range. Adult coyotes do not have predators, although sometimes wolves or cougars will prey upon young pups. Trapping and hunting, disease, and accidents, especially due to motor vehicles, are major causes of death.


According to IUCN Red List, coyotes are abundant throughout their range and are increasing in distribution. Their population and range now are likely at an all-time high. Currently, coyotes are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are increasing.

Ecological niche[]

Coyotes help to control many small mammal populations, including mice and rabbits, which degrade the habitats where they live. They also assist in the control of some agricultural pests, like rodents.

Fun Facts[]

Coyotes listen out for danger and can detect hunters at a distance of one mile.

Coyotes walk silently on the tips of their toes to avoid danger.

Coyotes belong to the canine family. They are known as Canis latrans or "barking dogs".

Male coyotes will travel for distances of 100 miles looking for food when their home is overpopulated.

Like dogs, coyotes regulate their temperature by panting heavily.

Coyotes bring live mice to their young, for hunting practice.

The position and movements of a coyote's ears indicate its mood and rank.

Coyotes are so clever that they can trick other animals, including birds.