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Coyote – A Complete Guide

Coyotes can be found in various parts of the U.S. and Canada and are very common in the wild and urban areas.  You may have come across this animal without realizing it. Many people mistake coyotes for medium-sized dogs, especially when they don’t know the difference.

Coyotes may not be the largest animals in the Canidae family, but they are the smartest and most adaptable. This is one of the reasons why they are frequently spotted in suburban and urban areas. 

There is a lot to learn about this fantastic animal.  This guide will find all the information you need about coyotes.

How do coyotes protect themselves from predators? Find out here

Etymology

The coyote was initially referred to as the Spanish fox or jackal. These names date back as far as 1651. The word ‘coyote’ is Spanish in origin and is borrowed from the Aztec name coyotl. The name was eventually standardized to become coyote in the 1880s.

Other English names are used to refer to the coyote. They include little wolf, brush wolf, prairie wolf, and American jackal. 

The scientific name is Canis latrans, which translates to barking dog. Male and female coyotes have the same gender names as dogs.

What is a female coyote called?

The female coyote is called a bitch.

What is a male coyote called?

The male coyote is popularly referred to as a dog.  This may not be very clear due to their similarities with some breeds of canines.

Are coyotes dangerous to humans? Find out here

What is a baby coyote called?

Baby coyotes are referred to as pups, puppies, or whelps.

Range

Coyotes have a wide range over North America. Over the past few years, their range has expanded and spread across many parts of North America.

Where do coyotes live?

Several North American regions have high coyote populations, including Alaska, California, Minnesota, and Canada.

What states do not have coyotes?  

It is almost impossible to find states in North America that do not have coyotes in recent times. Their population has grown and spread out in many North American states and provinces. 

However, you rarely find them in the Rocky Mountains, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These regions have a higher population of predators, and coyotes have adapted to their presence, staying away from these areas.

Distribution

The distribution of coyotes depends on the sustainability of their habitat.  However, they are scattered throughout most parts of North America.  Coyotes will live in suburban areas and are no longer as scared of humans as they once were.  

Unsure of how to tell a coyote from a wolf? In this article, I show you the difference

Habitat

Coyotes can be found in various habitats, including deserts, grasslands, forests, foothills, plains, and urban areas. Habitat preference is based on the abundance of food and the population of predators.

Coyotes prefer grasslands because they are often inhabited by prey such as deer, elk, and bison. These ungulates are the best choice of prey for coyotes.

Semi-arid areas can be an ideal habitat due to the abundance of jackrabbits and sagebrush. These are considered easy prey for the much larger coyote.

Coyotes can survive in deserts.  As they can eat almost everything, there is enough food in these areas to cater to their needs. Coyotes can eat cactus, fruits, rattlesnakes, and kangaroo rats in the deserts.

Coyotes tend to avoid areas with a high population of wolves.  Wolves are potential predators, but they also pose an increased competition for food.

Coyotes move from one habitat to another to sustain their diet.  They can walk for an average of 5 to 16 kilometers daily.  They prefer to walk along logging roads and other man-made paths in forests. During winter, they use iced rivers and ponds as their travel routes. They may also opt to follow deer trails to get to their food source quicker.

Want to know about the predators of coyotes. Find out here.

Appearance 

Coyotes resemble dogs and wolves, but some characteristics distinguish them.

What do coyotes look like?

The fur on the body of a coyote varies in color depending on its geographical location. Their hair mainly appears in shades of gray, brown, and red and can be combined with black and white. 

Coyotes that dwell in deserts tend to have whitish-gray or fulvous coats. Those living in grasslands and forests have primarily gray or black coats.

The fur on its body comprises a coat of short and soft underfurs and long, bristly guard hairs on top. The North American coyotes have long and dense fur compared with coyotes from central and South America.

Coyotes have large pointed ears on medium-sized heads. The muzzle is long and narrow, with a black nose and yellow round eyes. 

Coyotes have a bushy tail, with patches of black both at the base and the tip.  The tail contains an active scent gland.

Coyotes are smaller in size than gray wolves, with their tail being a distinguishing feature.  Coyotes keep their tails vertically both when walking and running, in contrast to wolves.

Do you know what coyotes do in summer?  Find out here

Populations

Coyotes have few predators, and their population has multiplied in the past few decades.

 It is pretty challenging to determine this animal’s population, as their population is often not closely monitored.  

How many coyotes are in the United States?

The population of coyotes in North America is growing tremendously.  For this reason, their population is classed as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Coyotes can be a nuisance to livestock and pets and are often killed by farmers and landowners.

Their exact population is not known because they are killed daily.  In the United States alone, approximately 400,000 coyotes are killed annually.

The population of coyotes in the U.S. is possibly over 4 million.  There are no recent statistics that give the exact population number.

How many coyotes are in Canada?

Coyotes inhabit a large part of Canada. Their population density varies in different geographic locations. On average, coyotes’ population density in Canada ranges between 0.01 to 2.3 animals in a square kilometer.

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Subspecies

There are 19 subspecies of coyotes in North America, and they are divided into four groups according to their distribution.

There is the central U.S. coyote, which occupies the central states of North America. These coyotes are divided into four main subspecies. 

The first is the Plains coyote, which dwells in Alberta, Texas, central Canada, and Oklahoma. 

The second is the Texas Plains coyote that dwells in western Texas and eastern regions of New Mexico. 

The third subspecies is the Mearn’s coyote, found in New Mexico and Arizona.

The fourth subspecies is the Lower Rio Grande coyote, which inhabits the regions of southern Texas.

The second group is known as the Eastern coyote, and they include two subspecies located in the eastern states of North America. 

The first subspecies is the Southeastern coyote, which mainly inhabits the southeastern parts of Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri. 

The second subspecies is the Northeastern coyote. These can be found in Missouri, Ontario, and Indiana.

There is a further group of coyotes known as the Western coyote.  They are divided into six main subspecies located in the Western parts of North America. 

The first subspecies is the Northern coyote, found in central Canada and Alaska. 

The Mountain coyote inhabits southern parts of Alaska, Canada, and Washington. 

The Northwest coyote prefers the coastal regions of Oregon and Washington. 

The California Valley coyote is mainly found in the Sierra Nevada. 

The San Pedro Martir coyote and The Peninsula coyote subspecies occupy parts of Baja California.

Behavior

What is the behavior of a coyote?

Coyotes belong to the Canidae family. However, in contrast to other members of the family that form packs, coyotes are solitary animals. Coyotes will only come together during hunting to help each other capture larger prey and mate.

Coyotes use various techniques to hunt. If their prey is a small animal, a coyote will stalk it while hiding in the long grass. 

Once the coyote gets sight of the prey, they pounce as a cat would do. Coyotes will band together for larger animals such as deer to hunt them in a pack formation.

Coyotes are very smart and will take turns chasing prey around until it tires.

The coyotes use sound to communicate and can be heard mainly at night.  There are three sounds that they make to communicate with each other. There are the squeak, howl, and distress call.

Coyotes are very territorial during the denning season. They use urine and faces to mark their territories. 

Coyotes will not defend their territories against other coyotes when the denning season is over.  However, the coyotes fight off any intruders that get within their areas.

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Can coyotes climb trees?

Coyotes can not climb trees.  A few factors make it impossible for a coyote to climb a tree. 

They have blunt claws that cannot grasp the tree trunk.  Also, coyotes can not wrap their forelimbs around a tree. For this reason, even if the animal attempted to climb a tree, it would end up falling.  They are not equipped to climb trees.

How fast can a coyote run?

Coyotes can run up to 65 km/h and jump at a horizontal distance of 4 meters. They use their speed during hunting to chase after prey.  Horizontal jumping also helps the animal cover more ground and reach the prey much faster.

These extraordinary animals speed is not for hunting purposes only but also to keep them away from potential predators.

Are coyotes nocturnal?

Coyotes can adapt to their surroundings and habitat when it comes to sleeping.  Generally, they are nocturnal, sleeping during the day.  At night, the animal moves about, looking for food and hunting. They have excellent vision at night, that aids in their hunting techniques.

While they are primarily nocturnal, there are times coyotes have to change their habits to sustain themselves.  If they live in an environment close to humans, they are active at night, dawn, and sunset. They do so to avoid humans, which they consider a threat.

However, when coyotes are in areas with very few or even no humans, they tend to be active day and night. Coyotes are very versatile and adaptable. They can swiftly change their routines to ensure survival; however, this depends on several factors.

One of the factors that may force coyotes to be diurnal is the birth of pups.  Newborn pups have to be taken care of to grow and survive.  During the few weeks after birth, adults will hunt anytime they find convenient, including during the day.

Other factors, such as weather and seasons, can dictate their habits. Before a storm or heavy rain, coyotes will spend most of their time hunting. 

They do this to ensure that they have a plentiful food supply to keep them fed when the bad weather reels in.  Coyotes can be seen in the rain; however, they will avoid it like most animals.

To avoid hunger and starvation, coyotes will hunt food day and night. The transition and adaptability from one pattern to the next are purely for survival. 

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Where do coyotes sleep?

Coyotes sleep above the ground, looking for areas that provide a safe environment.  They do so to hide from predators and other animals that may disturb them.

Coyotes build dens during gestation and when the pups are born. Coyotes do everything they can to protect their young ones. 

Coyotes will build dens just before the young pups are born. Coyotes will dig out and make a den from scratch on rare occasions. 

They mostly prefer to take over abandoned dens that foxes or badgers have already used.  They also like hollow tree stumps or rock crevices.  If the coyotes cannot find a suitable place for denning, they will build one on level ground.

The dens are built on sloping ground to allow proper drainage. Coyotes will also look for places with trees or bushes covering the den. Once a good den is found, the female coyote will take time to clean it before the pups’ birth.

The safety of the young ones is a top priority.  When their den is disturbed by humans or other animals, the pups are promptly moved to another den in a new location.  If the den is safe and well secluded, it is used in subsequent years during the denning period.

Coyotes like to den in secluded places. However, coyotes in urban areas do not have this luxury.  Coyotes’ dens can be found near a highway, parking lots, houses’ basements, and even drainage pipes.

How long do coyotes live?

The lifespan of a coyote in the wild ranges between ten to fourteen years.  They can live for as long as twenty years when held in captivity.

The life expectancy of the coyotes is affected by various factors depending on their habitat.  In the wild, they are susceptible to predators that can attack them at any time, with many succumbing to death before three. 

Aside from predators, coyotes suffer from diseases and parasites that can result in the animal’s death.  They are most commonly affected by fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, canine distemper, and parvovirus.

In rural areas, humans commonly hunt down and trap these animals. Coyotes are considered a nuisance in many areas.  Coyotes may attack some domestic animals like chickens, sheep, or goats for food.

Coyotes are more exposed when crops are harvested.  They do not have as many places to hide during this time, making it easier for them to hunt.

In urban areas, there is a more substantial amount of cover everywhere in the form of buildings.  The primary cause of death in urban areas is a collision with vehicles. 

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How do you scare a coyote away?

Coyotes are incredibly adaptable. Once they find a place with enough food, water, and shade, they will settle in that area. 

Coyotes are generally afraid of humans and tend to run away from them when they see us.  However, those living close to humans slowly become accustomed to seeing people around.

For this reason, it is best to know how to scare off the animal in case you come face to face with it.  When coyotes are not scared away from humans, they become less afraid to approach humans. 

This can encourage it to start coming to your yard to search for food and even a place to make its den.

When you spot a coyote, the first thing to do is to stay calm. Ensure that children and pets are safe.  Maintain eye contact with the coyote to show that you are in charge.

Act aggressively so that the animal becomes afraid of you and views you as a predator. You can do so by waving your arms over your head and shouting as loud as possible in an imposing tone.

Make use of sound in any way possible, by banging an object or blowing a whistle or air horn. Such loud noises are bound to scare the animal, and it will eventually run away.

Another alternative is to throw some objects that you can find in the coyote’s direction. If there is a stick nearby, you can throw this toward the animal. 

Other objects include stones, tennis balls, cans, or anything else available.  Do not throw an object at the animal that is likely to cause an injury.  The objective is to scare away, not injure, so aim for the ground near it, not at it.

You should remember that scaring off coyotes will only work if there is no food supply in the neighborhood.  These animals will keep coming back because they have discovered a constant amount of food. 

Ensure that the coyotes cannot open your garbage cans.  I have been using the Genleas trash can straps, as they are strong, fit the bin perfectly, and come in a pack of two.  You can get them at Amazon here.  For the price, they can’t be beaten.  Also, get rid of any rodents residing in your yard.  

Keep pets and pet food out of the reach of coyotes.  If there is any pet food spilled outside, clean it up. Your pets should sleep in a safe and secure place, and if there are coyotes in the area, do not let them roam free during the day.

Never run away from a coyote. This portrays weakness and will only encourage it to run after you and attack as it will see you as prey. 

Be persistent when trying to scare the animal away. Chances are, the coyote may refuse to leave at first.  However, if you continue this hazing, it will eventually go away.

Want to know how red foxes survive in winter? Find out here.

What do coyotes do during the day?

Since coyotes are generally nocturnal, they spend the entire night hunting.  During the day, they take the time to sleep.  At times, they can also hunt during the day in areas that have no humans.  In this case, they alternate between taking naps and hunting.

When the females are in gestation, they stay in the den resting and awaiting the pups’ birth. 

Are coyotes scared of humans?

Coyotes are generally timid; however, they can change their behavior with more human interactions.  When a human is close, they will instinctively run away. 

A coyote that has not been around or seen a human will perceive us as a threat or predator.  However, coyotes with human interaction may no longer be afraid of humans. 

Some people living in areas with a high coyote population are used to seeing them roaming the streets or in backyards. 

Do coyotes eat cats and dogs?

Coyotes see both cats and small dogs as prey.  This is one of the significant causes of conflict between humans and these animals. When a coyote is looking for food, it will attack and eat any cat or small dog.

It is always recommended that people living in coyote-rich neighborhoods keep their pets safe.  Do not let your pet roam around without supervision.  

You can use fencing to keep coyotes out of your yard. The fence should be about six feet tall with a minimum of six inches depth.

What time of day do coyotes hunt?

Coyotes hunt mainly at night. They are active at night and spend the day sleeping in most areas.  They have an amazing sense of smell and excellent vision at night that aids with their hunting. 

At times, they are forced to hunt both day and night. This usually happens when they have newborn pups that need constant care and a good food supply.

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Are coyotes afraid of fire?

Just like any other wild animal, coyotes are afraid of fire.  It is the scent of the smoke that mainly keeps them away.  People often use fire at their campsites to keep animals such as coyotes away.

Anatomy

Coyotes in North America are typically larger than their counterparts from the south.  They have a bushy tail that can be about 60 inches long. 

One way to distinguish the coyote from other dog family members is through the tail.  They run with the tail down rather than up, as with most other Canidae family members.  They grow fast and mature to their maximum size within the first year after birth.

Coyote fur may be grayish-brown or, at times, yellow.  The throat and areas under the body are mainly white or lighter in color. The forelegs, muzzle, and feet have a reddish or brown tint. The tail ends with a black tip and consists of a scent gland at the dorsal base.

The feet are pretty small when compared to the size of their bodies. The forefeet have five digits. This consists of the dewclaw and four other digits on the hind feet.  While walking, only the toes touch the ground.  

Coyotes have sharp teeth with four canines.  One pair is on the upper jaw, and the other is on the lower jaw.  They are used to grasp and hold prey.  They also have premolars for tearing meat from carcasses. The molars are rarely used except when crushing hard foods such as nuts.

Vocalizations

Coyotes are known to be vocal creatures. They communicate with each other and members of their packs through various sounds.

Why do coyotes howl?

Each of the sounds made by a coyote has a meaning behind it. It is their way of communication and keeping track of each other and members of the pack.

There are a few different kinds of sounds that coyotes make. 

If you want to know what sounds a chipmunk makes, you can find out in an article I have written here.

What do the different sounds mean?

Each sound has its meaning and message.  A growl is typically used to issue a threat at a close distance.  This sound is meant to warn other coyotes of looming danger.

Another sound made is a huff.  The coyote expels air through both the nose and mouth. This happens simultaneously and forcefully.  This is a way of scaring off other coyotes or predators disturbing it.

The bark is a familiar sound.  It can be of a high to medium intensity and is usually a threat issued at a long-range. For instance, a coyote will bark when intimidated by a particular sound, scent, or smell. It will also bark when retreating from an enemy or about to attack.

The yelp is a submission sound or made in response to being startled.  The coyote will make this sound when frightened and uncomfortable with whatever is going on in its surrounding. When a puppy makes this sound, it is perceived as a distress alarm.

There is also a whining sound.  This one is of high intensity and portrays submission.  Usually, it is a way of bringing out emotions like pain, hunger, or distress.

Lastly, a coyote may back and howl concurrently. This is called a bark-howl. It communicates a severe threat and is issued in a long-range.  The coyote will start by barking and then blend in with a howl.

Adaptations  

Adaptations to their environment are mandatory for the survival of any living organism. One unique trait of the coyotes is that they can live in almost any environment. 

They can live in rural areas, urban areas, grasslands, deserts, and forests. One of the reasons these animals can adapt to different environments is their diverse diet.  They can eat just about anything, including mice, rabbits, fish, frogs, fruits, nuts, and some grasses.

The coyote’s fur naturally camouflages with the environment around it.  The color of the coat can either be light brown or grayish.  These colors easily blend in with the various settings that coyotes live in. 

The camouflage can benefit during hunting since the prey does not easily spot the animal.  It also helps them hide from predators.

Coyotes are not just stealthy but fast too. They can run at a 69km/hr speed and can leap horizontally as far as 4 meters. 

This speed is one of their most significant adaptations in hunting.  When combined with jumping, their running enables them to catch up with their prey easily.  This is also a line of defense from predators.

Coyotes have a powerful set of claws to hunt down their prey. The claws and teeth are sharp enough to pierce through prey’s flesh and kill it instantly.

Coyotes have an excellent sense of smell and vision that enables them to hunt even in the dark hours of the night.  A coyote can smell the scent of prey and stalk it for miles until it eventually catches it. 

Furthermore, their sense of smell and vision helps them flee from predators.

Coyotes are not very skilled hunters.  When alone, they go after small animals like mice and rabbits.  However, they come together in pairs or in a pack to hunt down larger animals such as deer.  This way, they can help each other chase the prey to exhaustion.

The fur on this animal keeps it warm during the cold weather and is also tough enough to prevent skin infections.

Want to know how mammals adapt to winter? Find out in this article I wrote.

What do coyotes eat in the desert?

While they are primarily predatory, coyotes will eat what they can find. In the desert, there is little food and water. Coyotes have to eat what is available to survive the harsh conditions in the desert. Their diet comprises rodents, lizards, cactus fruit, snakes, insects, flowers, and beans.

Size

Coyotes are generally smaller in size than wolves.  They are often mistaken for medium-sized dogs because they look similar.

Are male coyotes bigger than females?

Typically, male coyotes are slightly bigger than females.  There are few other ways to distinguish them because both males and females look alike.  However, if you see them in a pair, you might notice that one is slightly larger than the other.

How tall is a coyote?

At shoulder length, a mature coyote stands approximately 24 inches tall. The entire body length, including the head and neck, is around 1 m to 1.35 m. The tail is about 16 inches long.

How big was the largest coyote?

The largest coyote on record was a male coyote found in Wyoming.  This animal had a body length of 1.5m from the nose to tail and weighed approximately 34 kgs.

How big is a coyote cub?

At birth, coyote pups weigh about 200g to 500 g.  They rapidly grow in size and mature within the first year.  They are already running around by the age of six weeks.

What is the average size of a coyote? 

An adult coyote is approximately 32 to 37 inches from head to tail. The female coyotes are shorter in body height and have a smaller body length.

How strong is a coyote?

Coyotes have medium-sized bodies.  Because of their size, they are not a threat to many large wild animals. 

They prefer to hunt smaller animals such as rodents and lizards. However, a pack of coyotes is strong enough to bring down a mature deer.

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Weight

Typical of many wild animals, coyote males are larger and weigh slightly more than females.

How heavy is a coyote?

The male coyote weighs approximately 8 to 20 kgs, while the female coyote weighs about 7 to 18 kgs.

Diet

Coyotes are adaptable to different kinds of environments.  This makes their choice of food versatile.  They eat what they find, depending on their current habitat.

What do coyotes eat?

Coyotes are carnivorous animals.  This means that they mainly feed on other animals.  Their prey choice includes rodents, snakes, lizards, tortoises, fish, rabbits, birds, sheep, insects, and deer.  

The most targeted birds include doves, pigeons, galliforms, and water birds.  

Snakes occur in their diet by chance. For instance, a rattlesnake may find itself inside a coyote’s den.  The coyotes will kill it to protect the young pups and later turn the snake into a meal.

Coyotes do not eat only meat. When there is a prey shortage, they incorporate nuts, various wild fruits, berries, and grasses into their diet.  

Coyotes living near urban areas will go through garbage cans and eat whatever is there.  They are also a significant threat to pets, particularly cats and small dogs. 

If you would like more information on a coyote’s diet, I have written an article that you may find interesting. You can find this here.

How much water does a coyote drink?

One fact about coyotes is that they can survive just about anything. Some coyotes live in the desert and can go for long periods without water.  Coyotes do not need to drink water regularly.  The most important thing is usually a consistent supply of food, as they can get water from this.  

They can stay for a long time in a particular habitat because food is surplus and the competition is lower. This is regardless of whether there is enough water or not.

When they find water, they drink as much as they can.  During the dry seasons, they can travel for as far as 20 miles in search of water.  Also, the fluids in the animals they prey on are enough to cater to their needs.  Their stomachs are adapted to derive moisture from prey.

Coyotes get water from pet water bowls left outdoors, park ponds, irrigation ditches, and water tanks in the urban areas.

Predators 

Coyotes generally do not have many predators.  This is one of the reasons why the coyote population has increased tremendously. 

However, a couple of predators are considered a significant threat to them.

Which predators attack coyotes?

Carnivores that prey on coyotes include mountain lions, wolves, bears, and cougars. The mountain lion is a common predator of coyotes.  They are skilled hunters and have the speed to catch up with a coyote.

Both wolves and coyotes belong to the dog family.  However, wolves are larger than coyotes.  Usually, they will not prey on coyotes but can do so when there is a shortage of preferred prey.  They will also kill coyotes in the area to cut down competition for food.

Brown bears will eat almost anything, including nuts and fruits.  When they come across coyotes, they don’t waste the chance to prey on them, especially when hungry.

The American alligator is another lethal predator of coyotes. This generally happens when the coyotes are swimming or drinking water at a river.  The American alligator wastes no time attacking and killing any animal that drinks from the streams it inhabits.

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How does a coyote protect itself? 

Naturally, coyotes do not wait for predators to find them.  Running is the easiest way to save themselves from being eaten.  With their speed, some predators may not be able to catch the coyote.  This ultimately reduces its chances of falling prey.

Another way coyotes protect themselves from predators is through their keen sense of smell and vision.  Once a coyote smells the scent of an enemy, it runs away to avoid getting caught. They can also spot a potential predator from a long distance.

Coyotes have powerful claws that can tear through the skin of the enemy.  If the coyote is caught unaware, it can fight off an enemy using its sharp, powerful claws.  However, coyotes prefer to run away from danger rather than fight.

Swimming

Coyotes are magnificent swimmers.  They will sometimes use streams, lakes, and rivers to get away from potential danger. 

Their thick fur traps air, which makes them buoyant in water.  This is what enables them to swim so well. 

How far can a coyote swim?

While swimming, a coyote can cover a distance of 0.8 km without stopping.  This is quite a long distance for a medium-sized animal.  They use their powerful set of paws for swimming and hold their head above the water.

Reproduction 

Breeding in coyotes occurs during late winter in February to early March.  The reproduction of the coyote will only take place at specific times in the year. 

During the whole year, female coyotes are infertile for ten months. Male coyotes are completely sterile for eight months a year. Before copulation occurs, the male coyote has to get a specific female’s attention and develop a special bond with her.

Bonding in pairs starts around two months before copulation. Several males will linger near a fertile female and follow her for weeks. 

Eventually, the female coyote will choose one of them as her mate and copulate.  The rest of the rejected pack moves forward, searching for other female coyotes in heat. The females use scents and howls with high intensity to attract the attention of males. 

Do coyotes mate for life?

Coyotes reach sexual maturity between 9 to 12 months.  However, in most cases, they start mating at two years old. Coyotes are monogamous; the coyote only breeds with one sexual partner for its entire life. They form a pair that will later become a family.

Some female coyotes may fail to mate during the yearly breeding season.  If this happens, they join their sister’s or mothers’ families and help raise their pups.  The availability of proper nutrition is vital for the first breeding of a female coyote.

Do you know which mammals are monogamous?  The answer might surprise you

How long is a coyote pregnant?

The female coyote becomes pregnant immediately after copulation. The gestation period takes approximately 63 days.  During this time, coyotes will take the time to look for a suitable den where the pups will be born. They will either take over an abandoned shelter or build one independently. 

The pregnant female remains in the den, resting and cleaning it out. The male goes out to hunt and bring back food for the female.

The female coyote prefers to line the den with some dry grass and use fur plucked from her stomach.

Pups early life

The pregnant coyote gives birth to newborn pups upon completing the gestation period. The pups are commonly born inside dens, such as hollow tree trunks or under rock crevices. 

On average, coyotes may give birth to a total of 6 pups.  The number of pups born is dependent mainly on the availability of food and population density.

Newborn pups are typically small and weigh about 200 to 500 grams.  They are born blind and have short wool-like fur.  For the first ten days, their only food is milk from the mother. 

They lack teeth at this stage and cannot eat any solid foods. The first teeth come through after 12 days.  These incisors are followed by the canines, which come out at 16 days old.  Premolars appear later on when the pup is 21 days old.

Young pups are not very mobile during the first few days after birth because they cannot see.  The eyes open at about 10 to 14 days, and after that, the pups are confident enough to move around. They are already walking at 20 days old and can run at six weeks old.

Weaning begins at 4 to 6 weeks. The milk teeth are fully grown, and the pups can eat tiny bits of flesh from mice and rabbits. Both parents are responsible for the young pups and take care of them. The male mostly grooms and protects them from danger, and the pups will be moved to a new location if the den is no longer safe.

Coyotes stay in dens from June to July.  At this time, the pups are old enough to join their parents in hunting. They are fully grown by nine months and have already attained adult weight.  Pups tend to leave their families at this age.  On other occasions, they stay much longer, sometimes up to the age of two.

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