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Coyotes

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Canidae

Genus: Canis

Species: Latrans

Coyote Information    Description    Life Cycle    

Range and Diet    Coyote Prevention Measures    Coyote Control, Trapping Tips    Dog or Coyote?

Coyote Information

The coyote, usually found only in the northwest corner of the United States , has adapted to changes caused by human development.  The scientific name for coyotes,   They have been spotted as far North as Alaska and New England, and now as far South as Florida .  Coyotes are now being commonly spotted in many urban areas. For example, pairs have been spotted in cities as big as Los Angeles and Dallas.  They are one of the only populations of animals that seem to be mostly increasing rather than decreasing.

Coyote Description 

Coyotes have sharp pointed ears which never drop, a sharp pointed nose, and longCoyote Picture bushy tails. They range anywhere from 15-50 pounds; with a lifespan of nearly 15 years very similar to that of the house dog.  A coyote can get to be nearly five feet long including the tail. Smaller coyotes found in desserts and low lying areas get to be about 20 pounds, unlike the mountain coyote who can range up to 50 pounds.  These coyotes are in more danger because they are hunted for their darker and thicker furs.      

Coyote Life Cycle 

Coyotes reach sexual maturity within one to two years, with a gestation period of 58-65 days. Their litters range from 2-6 pups.  Mating season ranges from January through March and early April.  Very few coyote pups survive through their first year.  Only about 5-20% of the pups make it to adulthood. Coyotes have also been known to breed with domestic dogs which bring in the term “coydog”.

Coyote Range and Diet

Coyotes have a very broad range of adaptation. They are seen traveling alone, in pairs, and in packs. Their very broad diet allows them to survive in many different territories. At the present times coyotes are more afraid of humans then we are of them. Some cases have shown coyotes becoming more brave and aggressive towards humans. Cases such as people feeding these animals give the coyote a sense of trust that through adaptation will be bad in the future.  They have been known to become less afraid and more aggressive toward humans. Coyotes use urine to mark their territories and have a variety of calls which help defend their territory as well as strengthen bonds and communication.

Coyotes have a keen sense of sight, smell, and hearing, which allow them to survive in many different areas. Food is what makes the coyote’s habitat. Wherever the food is, is where the coyote needs to be. They can occupy a range of up to twelve miles. Although coyotes dig their own dens, they have been known to burrow out small fox and badger holes.  They are also found in small mountain crevices.  These dens are only used for tending to the young the rest of the year these dens are abandoned.

A coyotes’ main diet consists of mice, rats, insects, rabbits, etc. They are known to hunt day and night, either alone or in packs. Coyotes will occasionally hunt larger animals but not alone.  They have also been known to eat out of open garbage cans and whatever humans feed them. So keep your garbage cans covered and do not encourage them with food.

Preventing Coyotes

There are a few things that can help prevent coyote occurrences.  First of all keep all pets and pet food and their water indoors or in a secured kennel if you live in an area that is suspected of or is known to be in this wild animal’s foraging range.  Try to avoid feeding wild cats as they are part of the diet of a coyote as well as the food you feed the cats. Minimize your ground cover of vegetation and pick up any fallen fruit from fruit trees within the area.  
Coyote will feed on a wide variety of foods (see Coyote Diet) and have also been seen feeding on carrion.  This diet can make them your ally or a liability.  It is not rare at all to find up to a dozen rodents in the stomach of a coyote.  Once natural food sources in a given area have been depleted, lone animals or those belonging to a pack will move on to better hunting grounds - but usually return at a later date.  If an animal controls rodent populations, it can be welcomed on the property.
Only when coyote become a danger or otherwise become a pest are they considered to be nuisance wildlife to be controlled.

  
Coyote will feed on a wide variety of foods (see Coyote Diet) and have also been seen feeding on carrion.  This diet can make them your ally or a liability.  It is not rare at all to find up to a dozen rodents in the stomach of a coyote.  Once natural food sources in a given area have been depleted, lone animals or those belonging to a pack will move on to better hunting grounds - but usually return at a later date.  If an animal controls rodent populations, it can be welcomed on the property.
Only when coyote become a danger or otherwise become a pest are they considered to be nuisance wildlife to be controlled.

Take very assertive actions toward the coyotes that are not showing normal or healthy behavior.  If all else fails, coyotes need to be trapped and euthanized. 

On many occasions Coyote populations have been blamed for damage that was caused by other animals.  If livestock, for example, have been attacked or killed yet no one has actually seen the culprit, look for signs which can be clues.  Not every hunting animal attacks and eats its prey in the same manner.  Large birds, dogs, coyote, fox and wolves all leave different clues on or nearby their fallen prey.
Check with local university wildlife experts if you need a positive identification.
Coyote Paw (top) and Paw of Large Dog

Coyote or Dog?

One example of tells is the track and prints of a four legged attacker.  Dogs are fond of wandering around and inspecting objects (tree, shrub, log, etc.) in wide open areas or fields.  The coyote, however, tends to walk in a straight line through open areas.  They are concerned more about their safety than they are curious of objects.  Dogs love to investigate, getting a real kick out of being in the field.  Coyotes are more likely to be all business and have a good idea of where they are going - and what to do when they get there.
Paw prints of a dog differ from those of coyote.  The picture on the right side of this page shows a dog's paw and also one that belongs to a coyote.  The front paw of the large dog is at the bottom of the picture; paw shown at top of picture is that of a coyote.  Note the different shape of the rear pad of each animal's paw.
Learn to differentiate by shape, not size.  A large dog's paw print could easily be five inches longer or more.

Coyote Trapping Tips

  • Coyote traps need to be totally concealed and extra precaution used to eliminate any human scent *
  • Dig hole 6 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep
  • Partially bury slightly spoiled red meat
  • Set the trap over hole so that the rear of the trap covers the hole
  • The bait should only be seen from the rear of the trap so the coyote enters the trap

Check your local and state laws before trapping, eliminating or re-locating any wildlife, including coyote.

*Efforts to control and or exterminate these animals have resulted in an extremely alert and wary predator.  Do it right the first time.

Coyote Trap    Humane Live Traps     Nuisance or Wild Dogs
Wildlife Control    Bird Control    Pest Control    Coyote