How To Identify a Coyote

Also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, a coyote is a type of mammal that is classified under the family of Canidae (the family where wolf and dogs came from as well). Unlike its cousins the wolf and dog that has origins from different parts of the globe, the coyote is mostly found in North America and Canada only. Currently, there are a total of 19 subspecies that are acknowledged by the scientific world today. Like all canids, the coyote is known to travel in packs or groups. However, hunting is usually done in pairs. It is originally a diurnal animal (active during the day) but due to the pressures of human civilization, its way of living has become nocturnal. The coyote reaches its full growth during its first year. Although it is perfectly capable to dig its own den, it actually prefers the burrows made by groundhogs and badgers. Its territory would range up to 19 kilometers around its den and it often leaves fixed trails for easier traveling. It can live up to 18 years in captivity and 10 years in the wild. Identifying a coyote is quite easy. All you need to do is to learn how it looks like. Read on to learn more.

  • Color. The coyote is known to have grayish brown to yellowish gray in color. Its throat and belly is lighter, usually white in color and is quite buffed compared to its fur on the back. It has a tawny color on its back under-fur and black pointy stripe on the tip of its guard hairs.
  • Weight. A coyote typically weighs between 15 to 46 pounds. Although it looks like a medium sized dog, it is scrawny and scraggly in appearance. Its full length usually reaches up to 34 inches excluding the tail. The tail length is between 12 to 16 inches. Its height is 23 to 26 inches.
  • Looks. You will see that a coyote’s overall appearance resembles a mix between a Border Collie and a fox. It is mainly its face that features a long narrow muzzle (a distinct canid feature), large ears that are often pointy and triangular in shape and stark yellow eyes that enable a coyote see in the dark.
  • Speed. The coyote is quite fast and can run up to 43 miles per hour. It can also jump as far as 14 feet.

The coyote is quite known for its aggressive behavior especially when it is hungry. It is advisable that you do not leave any food outside and that your yard is fully fenced. It is known to kill pets such as small dogs and cats and can also be aggressive against men if threatened or provoked. Carefully read this guide so that you will know what features you need to watch out for. It is also known to breed with dogs (and wolves), so make sure that you keep a keen eye on your pet at all times to avoid producing “coydogs” (a dangerous hybrid between a coyote and a dog). Good luck!


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