The Coyote is very similar in size to a small German Shepherd and weighs an average of 25 to 40 pounds. It has long, slender legs, a bushy tail with a black tip, and large ears that are held erect. The Coyote's coat can vary, but it is usually gray or buff-colored.
They are an extremely intelligent animal with keen senses of hearing, sight and smell. It primarily is nocturnal and very opportunistic. Coyotes will eat just about anything. They feed primarily on rabbits, rodents and insects, but they also eat carrion, lizards, snakes, fruit, vegetable matter and even fish. This adaptability also is evident in their use of cover. The Coyote requires minimal shelter to survive, but it will use a den for the birth and care of its young
Diet: Omnivores; carrion, insects, varied plants, small mammals, and reptiles. Favors meat.
The adaptability of the Coyote and its acute sense of survival make it difficult to identify preferred habitat. They are well suited to urban and suburban landscapes where food sources are plentiful. Coyotes may also prey upon other small mammals such as house pets if they are easy to access.
A coyote may give birth to a litter of five to seven pups. During the weeks following the birth, the male will bring food to the family, but the female will not allow him inside the den. Coyotes normally may live from 10 to 12 years.
Three Fun Facts About Coyotes
- They can jump horizontal distances of up to 4 meters.
- Coyotes can reach speeds of 35 to 43 mph when pursuing prey or fleeing danger.
- Every major city in the United States has a coyote population.
While normally fearful of people, they can sometimes be spotted crossing yards or streets. This behavior is not unusual, especially in residential areas bordering on open space where coyotes find their natural prey. This type of sighting generally requires no response—other than making sure that pets and children are secure and that there are no likely food attractants.
Small pets and children should never be left unattended, and dogs should always be walked on a leash. Problems are more likely to occur when the animal is out of the owner’s control. It can also be helpful to carry a noisemaker, squirt gun or pepper spray. If a coyote approaches, pick up the pet or child, then start hazing (Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice). If the coyote does not leave, back away slowly while continuing to haze and go indoors if possible. Any aggressive behavior should be reported to the local police or animal control officer.
How to keep coyotes out
Never feed coyotes! Remove all food and water sources from your yard. This may include pet bowls, birdfeeders, fallen fruit, barbecue grills, and trash. All trash should be contained in trash containers and stored indoors with secure lids. Trash should not be placed on the curb until the morning of pickup. Encourage your community to utilize wildlife-proof trash containers on school grounds, in parks, and in open space areas. Keep cats indoors. Pets should be supervised when outside and should only be left unattended when they are secured in a kennel with a covered top. Trim vegetation and mow tall grass; remove or thin brush and rubbage piles so as to eliminate cover for coyotes and their prey
If a coyote is acting out of the ordinary such as:
- Overly friendly
- Circling or Stumbling or Disoriented
- Unusual aggression
- Overly active in the daytime