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Interesting Facts About the Prairie Coyote

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We found 23 interesting facts about the prairie coyote

North America's loudest wild mammal

The coyote is an indispensable figure in the mythology of the indigenous peoples of North America, as well as in most ranching and cowboy films about the Wild West.

Although, unlike the wolf, he did not pose a direct threat to the livestock farm on the ranch, he always appeared there with his characteristic vocals.

Today it is a very common animal on the North American continent, not only in the prairies, but also in large urban agglomerations.


The prairie coyote (Canis latrans) is a predatory mammal from the canid family (Canidae).

The Canidae family includes a total of more than 30 species living today, including dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes and jackals. These are medium-sized mammals. The smallest representative of the canids is the fennec fox, and the largest is the gray wolf.


Its appearance is intermediate between a wolf and a jackal.

It is smaller than the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and slightly smaller than the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) and red wolf (Canis rufus).

It occupies the same ecological niche as the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in Eurasia, which is why zoologists sometimes call it the American jackal. However, it is larger and more predatory than the golden jackal.


It is found throughout almost all of North America, from Mexico to Alaska.

Prefers open, dense or small wooded areas.


There are 19 subspecies of the prairie coyote.

Individual subspecies inhabit different areas of the North American continent.


The prairie coyote is of least concern.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified it in this category due to its population size and wide distribution in North America, Mexico and Central America.

The prairie coyote is able to adapt and thrive in human-altered environments - the species' range is expanding into urban areas of the United States and Canada, and in 2013 its presence was observed in eastern Panama, on the other side of the Panama Canal. .

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The coyote has a stocky build.

It is generally smaller than the gray wolf, but has longer ears and a relatively larger skull, as well as a slimmer body and snout.

Males typically weigh between 8 and 20 kg and females between 7 and 18 kg, although their size varies depending on the region.

The body length ranges from 1 to 1,35 m, and the height at the withers is 58-66 cm. Coyotes have a tail 40 cm long. On the upper side of the base of the tail there are scent glands of a bluish-black color. 


The coloration of a coyote is much less varied than that of a wolf.

Its fur consists of short soft down and long gray wide hairs up to 10 cm long, covering almost the entire body. Their upper part is protective black. The coyote's tail is also covered with thick black fur. However, the predominant coat color is light gray and red or fawn with splashes of black and white throughout the body.

Fur production uses coyote skin and fur.


The coyote keeps its tail down when running or walking.

The wolf holds its tail horizontally.


Albinism is extremely rare in coyotes.

Among the 750 thousand observed individuals, only two were albinos.


The coyote is a very fast mammal.

It can reach a top speed of 69 km/h during a chase of approximately 300 meters. He is faster than a wolf, but less durable. He can jump up to 4 meters high.


The largest coyote recorded weighed 34 kilograms.

He was a man shot and killed near Afton, Wyoming in 1937. Its length from muzzle to tail was 1,5 meters.


Coyotes live in packs, but their primary social unit is the family.

They are not dependent on the larger herd as they do not hunt larger prey. The family forms around the female in mid-winter. Pair formation in coyotes can occur 2-3 months before copulation. Unlike the wolf, the coyote is strictly monogamous.

The newly formed pair develops its own territory and builds a den for itself or adapts a den vacated by a badger, marmot or skunk.


A coyote's pregnancy lasts 63 days.

The average litter consists of six babies. After birth, the cubs are completely dependent on their mother's milk for the first 10 days, then they are fed solid food regurgitated by their parents. When baby teeth emerge, babies are given small foods such as mice and rabbits.

The juveniles reach adult size after eight months and mature weight after nine months.


Coyotes mark their territory with urine.

They urinate with their legs raised, marking a spot and scratching the ground at the same time.


They have a reputation as scavengers.

Although they also eat carrion (willingly eat the corpses of individuals of their own species), they obtain most of their food by hunting. About 90% of prey are mice and rabbits. Less commonly eaten are birds, snakes, foxes, opossums, raccoons and juveniles of large mammals.

Coyotes also eat fruits and berries as additional food. During the winter and spring, the coyote eats large amounts of grass, such as green stalks of wheat.


Sometimes they come into conflict with people.

They kill domestic animals, mainly sheep, but also stray cats and small dogs. They also often look into household garbage cans in search of food.


They are considered to have the best hearing among dogs.

They need excellent hearing, especially when hunting rodents that produce sounds in very low registers.


The coyote has earned a reputation as the loudest of all North American mammals.

Its volume and range of vocalizations give rise to its genus name Canis latrans, meaning "barking dog".

Adult coyotes have eleven different vocalizations that fall into three categories: agonistic and alarm, greeting and contact.


It is a carrier of diseases and parasites.

Among North American predators, coyotes probably carry the greatest number of diseases and parasites. This is a result of their varied diet and range. 60-95% of all coyotes examined were infected with tapeworms.


The coyote is present in the mythology of many Indian tribes.

He is usually presented there as a fraudster playing a key role. In Aztec beliefs, it symbolized military power: warriors dressed in coyote costumes to awaken its predatory power. The Aztec god Huehuecoyotl is depicted in several codices as a man with the head of a coyote. 


Coyote attacks on people do happen.

They are generally rare and do not cause serious injury due to the animal's relatively small size, but fatal attacks do occur. The most cases of coyote attacks on people have been recorded in California.


Coyotes were likely partially domesticated by various pre-Columbian cultures.

A coyote is easy to tame as a puppy, but not as an adult. Tamed dogs are playful and trusting of their owners, suspicious and timid of strangers. They learn to find and point out the game.


Coyote pelts were of great economic importance in the early 50s.

Their price ranged from US$5 to US$25 per leather, and they were used to make coats, jackets, scarves and muffs.

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