The Coyote is a member of the dog family and is the same size and shape of the average Collie, about 15 to 45 pounds. The scientific name for coyote (Canis latrans) means “barking dog” — and it comes by its name honestly. It is one of few animals whose vocalizations can be heard. Coyotes both howl and let out high-pitched yips during the night. Their howls are used as a way to interact with other coyotes in the area, especially as a way to find a mate.
As one of the most adaptable animals in the world, the coyote can easily change breeding habits, diet and social dynamics in many different kinds of habitats. By adapting to habitat loss, the coyote has quickly moved to different regions of North America in the past 200 years, even though it originated in the northwest corner of the United States.
Coyotes have a keen sense of smell, hearing and vision, which makes it easy for them to live up to 15 years in the wild. They hunt during both day and night, killing prey with ease. When hunting small prey, they hunt by themselves, but if they’re hunting something larger (like a deer), they’ll hunt in packs.
They typically live in open plains and grasslands, and they dig their own dens, which they use for sleep and birthing their young. An average female coyote will have about six puppies each year. The pups are born blind, but after 14 days or so their eyes open and they are able to leave the den.
Fun Coyote Facts
- Coyotes can run at a speed of about 40 miles per hour and can jump over an 8-foot fence.
A small fraction of coyote pups survive their first year, 5 to 20 percent.
- A coyote is more likely scared of a human than a human of it.
- Coyotes can breed with domestic dogs and wolves.
- Coyotes mark their territory with their own urine.
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