Canis latrans

Summary 3

The coyote (US /kaɪˈoʊtiː/ or /ˈkaɪ.oʊt/, UK /kɔɪˈjoʊteɪ/, or /kɔɪˈjoʊt/;Canis latrans), also known as the American jackal, brush wolf, or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It occurs as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada. The term is also used for the eastern coyote (Canis latrans var.), which...

Common names 4

brush wolf
prairie wolf
American jackal

Description 5

Coyotes are among the most adaptable mammals in North America. They have an enormous geographical distribution and can live in very diverse ecological settings, even successfully making their homes in suburbs, towns, and cities. They are omnivorous, eating plants, animals, and carrion. Socially, coyotes live in a variety of arrangements. Some live alone, others in mated pairs, and others in packs, which may consist of one mated pair, their new young, and offspring from the previous season that have not yet left their parents. Packs are an advantage when preying on larger mammals such as deer, or defending food resources, territory, and themselves.

Adaptation: The upper and lower cheek teeth of a Coyote, Canis latrans, are blade-like, with sharp shearing edges that cut food in scissors-like fashion. The foremost shearing teeth, known as carnassials, are clearly larger than the others.

Mammal Species of the World
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Distribution 6

Coyotes are found from Costa Rica to northern Alaska, and from coast to
coast in the United States and Canada. The highest densities occur in
the Great Plains states and in south-central United States. Coyotes are
absent from the barrens and Arctic islands of northern Canada, including
much of northern Quebec, northern Newfoundland, and Labrador. Coyotes
are uncommon where gray wolf populations are high in northeastern
Minnesota, northern Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and
Ontario. The distribution of coyotes in eastern North America has
expanded during this century. In some states such as Florida and
Georgia, coyotes have been introduced [4,12,43]. Today, all eastern
states and provinces have at least a small population of coyotes [64].
Distribution of the subspecies is listed below [61,66]:

Mexican coyote - Occurs in Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Pueblo, and
Veracrus, Mexico. Its range may extend into southern Nuevo Leon and
southern Tamaulipas, Mexico.

San Pedro Martir coyote - Occurs in northern Baja California and
southwestern California (mostly San Diego County).

southeastern coyote - Occurs in southeastern and extreme eastern Kansas,
Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

Durango coyote - Occurs along the Pacific coast drainage of western
Mexico between about 22 degrees and 26 degrees north latitude, extreme
southern Sonora, extreme southwestern Chihuahua, western Durango,
western Zacatecas, and Sinaloa.

northern coyote - In Canada, northern coyotes occur in Yukon Territory,
the Northwest Territories, northern British Columbia, and northern
Alberta. In the United States, northern coyotes occur in most of Alaska
except the southeastern coastal section.

Tiburon Island coyote - Occurs on Tiburon Island off Baja California.

plains coyote - In Canada, plains coyotes occur in southeastern Alberta,
southern Saskatchewan, and the extreme southwestern corner of Manitoba.
In the United States, they occur in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east
of the Rocky Mountains, and the northeastern corner of New Mexico; North
Dakota except the northeastern quarter; northwestern Oklahoma, and the
northern Panhandle region of Texas.

mountain coyote - In Canada, mountain coyotes occur in southern British
Columbia and southeastern Alberta. In the United States, they occur in
Oregon and Washington east of the Cascade Range, northern California,
Idaho, western Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado (except the southeast
corner), northern and central Nevada, and northern and central Utah.

Mearns coyote - Occurs in southwestern Colorado, extreme southern Utah
and Nevada, southeastern California, northeastern Baja California,
Arizona, west of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, and Sonora and Chihuahua
in Mexico.

Lower Rio Grande coyote - Occurs in extreme southern Texas and northern
Tamaulipas, Mexico.

California valley coyote - Occurs in California west of the Sierra
Nevada, except in the northern part.

peninsula coyote - Occurs on the Baja California peninsula.

Texas plains coyote - Occurs in Texas, except for the northern panhandle
region, the eastern part, and the extreme southern tip. Texas plains
coyotes also occur in eastern New Mexico except for the northeastern
corner, and part of northeastern Mexico.

northeastern coyote - In Canada, northeastern coyotes occur in
north-central Saskatchewan, Manitoba (except the extreme southwestern
corner), southern Ontario, and extreme southern Quebec. In the United
States, northeastern coyotes occur along the eastern edge of North
Dakota and in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri (north of the Missouri River),
Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois (except the extreme southern portion), and
northern Indiana.

northwest coast coyote - Occurs west of the Cascade Range in Oregon and

Colima coyote - Occurs along the southwestern Pacific slope of Jalisco,
Michoacan, and Guerrero, Mexico.

California montane chaparral and woodlands habitat 7

This taxon can be found in the California montane chaparral and woodlands, a near coastal ecoregion in Central and Southern California, USA. This ecoregion is disjunctive, with a major element in Southern California and another along the Monterey County coast. The ecoregion encompasses most of the Transverse Range that includes the San Bernardino Mountains; San Gabriel Mountains; portions of the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains; Topatopa Mountains; San Jacinto Mountains; the Tehachapi, Greenhorn, Piute, and Kiavah Mountains that extend roughly northeast-southwest from the southern Sierra Nevada; and the Santa Lucia Range that parallels the coast southward from Monterey Bay to Morro Bay.

The California montane chaparral and woodland ecoregion consists of a complex mosaic of coastal sage scrub, lower chaparral dominated by chamise, upper chaparral dominated by manzanita, desert chaparral, Piñon-juniper woodland, oak woodlands, closed-cone pine forests, yellow pine forests, sugar pine-white fir forests, lodgepole pine forests, and alpine habitats. The prevalence of drought-adapted scrub species in the flora of this ecoregion helps distinguish it from similar communities in the Sierras and other portions of northern California. Many of the shared Sierra Nevadan species typically are adapted to drier habitats in that ecoregion, Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi) being a good example.

Oak species are an important component of many chaparral and forest communities throughout the ecoregion. Canyon Live Oak, Interior Live Oak, Tanbark Oak (not a true Quercus species), Engelmann Oak, Golden-cup Oak, and Scrub Oak are some examples. Mixed-conifer forests are found between 1371 to 2896 meters elevation with various combinations and dominance of incense cedar, sugar pine, and white fir, Jeffrey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and mountain juniper. Subalpine forests consist of groves of Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis), Lodgepole Pine, and Jeffrey Pine. Very old individual trees are commonly observed in these relict subalpine forests. Within this zone are subalpine wet meadows, talus slope herbaceous communities, krumholz woodlands, and a few small aspen groves.

In addition to these general vegetation patterns, this ecoregion is noted for a variety of ecologic islands, communities with specialized conditions that are widely scattered and isolated and typically harbor endemic and relict species. Examples include two localities of Knobcone Pine (Pinus attenuata) on serpentine soils, scattered vernal pools with a number of endemic and relict species, and isolated populations of one of North America’s most diverse cypress floras, including the rare Gowen Cypress (Cupressus goveniana goveniana) restricted to two sites on acidic soils in the northern Santa Lucia Range, Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) found only at two coastal localities near Monterey Bay, and Sargent Cypress (Callitropsis sargentii LR/LC) restricted to serpentine outcrops. Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) is also restricted to three coastal sites near Monterey Bay.

The ecoregion is also home to a few endemic or near-endemic mammalian vertebrates, such as the White-eared Pocket Mouse (Perognathus alticolus EN), a mammal known only to two disjunct mountain ranges in southern California: San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino County (ssp. alticolus), and the Tehachapi Mountains, in Kern, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. The near-endemic fossorial Agile Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys agilis) is found in the southern disjunctive unit of the ecoregion, and is known only to the Los Angeles Basin and foothills of San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties north to Santa Barbara County and through the southern Sierra Nevada, including Mount Pinos, Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains, and northern San Fernando Valley. Non-endemic mammals found in the ecoregion include Botta's Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae) and Trowbridge's Shrew (Sorex trowbridgii). Some larger vertebrate predators can be found in the ecoregion, including Puma (Puma concolor), Bobcat (Lynx rufus), Coyote (Canis latrans), and Ringtails (Bassariscus astutus).

The ecoregion boasts five endemic and near-endemic amphibians, largely Plethodontid salamanders. Some specific salamander taxa found here are the endemic Tehachapi Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi VU), known from isolated sites in the Caliente Creek drainage, Piute Mountains, and Kern County, California along with scattered populations in the Tehachapi Mountains to Fort Tejon, Kern County; the near-endemic Blackbelly Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris); the Monterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii); the Channel Islands Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus), endemic to a narrow range restricted solely on Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel islands; and the Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris), found only in California and Baja California. A newt found here is the Coast Range Newt (Taricha torosa). Anuran taxa in the ecoregion include the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii NT); the Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa EN), a California endemic occurring in several disjunctive populations; and the Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora).

The California montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregions contains a number of reptiles such as the Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum), who ranges from Northern California to Baja California. Also found here is the Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus); the Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis); the Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata); and the Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana). The Two-striped Garter Snake (Thamnophis hammondii) is a restricted range reptile found near-coastally from Monterey County, California southward to Baja California.

The California Condor once inhabited much of the ecoregion, with the western Transverse Range acting today as a refuge for some of the last wild populations, after considerable conservation efforts, especially in the Los Padres National Forest. The Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni NT) is found in coastal areas of the ecoregion.

Associated plant communities 8

More info for the term: tundra

Coyotes evolved in a plains environment and were historically most
numerous in western grasslands where large ungulate populations were
high. Coyotes flourished in the shortgrass-steppe, semiarid sagebrush
(Artemisia spp.)-grasslands, and deserts, and they ranged from deserts
and plains to alpine areas of adjacent mountains [58].

Today, range expansions indicate that coyotes can be successful in any
plant community from the tropics of Guatemala to the tundra of northern
Alaska [58]. Although they occur in most plant communities throughout
their range, coyotes do show some preferences. In the Intermountain
region, coyotes are closely associated with sagebrush communities.
Coyotes in eastern Nevada preferred black sagebrush (Artemisia nova)
flats to other habitats. These flats were areas of highest black-tailed
jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) densities [44]. In the Sierra Nevada,
California, coyotes inhabit almost every plant community and
successional stage. However, they prefer grass-forb and shrub-conifer
seedling-conifer sapling communities [63].

Cover requirements 9

More info for the term: cover

Coyotes commonly hunt in open to semiopen areas [12,18,51]. In
California coyotes used ecotones, fuelbreaks, roads, trails, and open
chaparral more than dense unbroken cover. In southern California where
chaparral is adjacent to unbroken areas, coyotes forage at night along
edges and return during the day to chaparral cover. The steep slopes
and heavy cover of most chaparral communities impede coyote movements
[51]. In Georgia, the proportion of open area in coyote home ranges was
significantly (P less than 0.04) greater than that generally available in the
area, and the proportion of forest was significantly (P less than 0.04) less [59].

Coyotes use cover for daytime resting and den sites. In Georgia, areas
with "sufficient" cover were used more for daytime rest sites, and early
successional and open areas were used more for nocturnal foraging. In
summer, some coyotes used corn fields for cover during the day [59].
Urban coyotes in Seattle, Washington, foraged in residential areas, but
only in areas that were immediately adjacent to forest cover. Forested
areas provided the majority of cover, including denning sites [51].

Food habits 10

Coyotes are versatile in their eating habits. They are carnivorous; 90% of their diet is mammalian. They eat primarily small mammals, such as sylvilagus floridanus, spermophilus tridecemlineatus, and peromyscus leucopus. They occasionally eat aves, serpentes, large insecta and other large invertebrates. They prefer fresh meat, but they consume large amounts of carrion. Part of what makes coyotes so successful at living in so many different places is the fact that they will eat almost anything, including human trash and household pets in suburban areas. Plants eaten include leaves of balsam fir and white cedar, sasparilla, strawberry, and apple. Fruits and vegetables are a significant part of the diet of coyotes in the fall and winter months. Coyotes hunt animals in interesting ways. When on a "mousing" expedition, they slowly stalk through the grass and sniff out the mouse. Suddenly, with all four legs held stiffly together, the coyotes stiffen and pounce on the prey. Hunting deer, on the other hand, calls for teamwork. Coyotes may take turns pursuing the deer until it tires, or they may drive it towards a hidden member of the pack. Coyotes sometimes form "hunting partnerships" with Taxidea taxus. Because coyotes aren't very effective at digging rodents out of their burrows, they chase the animals while they're above ground. Badgers do not run quickly, but are well-adapted to digging rodents out of burrows. When both hunt together they effectively leave no escape for prey in the area. The average distance covered in a night's hunting is 4 km.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: leaves; fruit

Ecosystem roles 11

Coyotes help in keeping many small mammal populations in check, such as muridae and leporidae. If populations of these small mammals were allowed to become too large it would result in habitat degradation

Mutualist Species:

  • American badgers (Taxidea_taxus)

Economic importance for humans: positive 12

Coyotes help to control some agricultural pests, such as rodents. Coyote pelts are also still collected and sold in some areas.

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material; controls pest population

Geographic range 13

Coyotes are native to the Nearctic region. They are found throughout North and Central America. They range from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States, and Canada. They occur as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Habitat 14

Coyotes are extremely adaptable and use a wide range of habitats including forests, grasslands, deserts, and swamps. They are typically excluded from areas with wolves. Coyotes, because of their tolerance for human activities, also occur in suburban, agricultural, and urban settings.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: taiga ; desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; forest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Wetlands: swamp

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

Habitat related fire effects 15

More info for the terms: density, fire exclusion

Fire may improve the foraging habitat and prey base of coyotes. In New
England, coyotes are commonly found in forest openings created by fire
or logging [18]. Fires that reduce vegetation height and create open
areas probably increase hunting efficiency by coyotes. Surface fires
often open substrates for quieter stalking and easier capture of prey
than can occur in closed forests [38]. Wirtz [68] noted increases in
consumption of birds and deer by coyotes after a chaparral fire in the
San Dimas Experimental Forest, California. Increased consumption was
presumably the result of increased vulnerability of prey with reduced
cover, but no change was noted in small mammal consumption.

Periodic fire helps to maintain habitat for many prey species of coyote.
Fires that create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas are probably the
most beneficial to many coyote prey species. Several studies indicate
that many small mammal populations increase rapidly subsequent to
burning in response to increased food availability. Fire often improves
hare and rabbit forage quality and quantity for two or more growing
seasons [38]. Hill [67] concluded that burning at intervals longer than
2 years would be less beneficial to rabbits and hares, but any fire is
believed better than fire exclusion. Along the coast of northern
California, black-tailed jackrabbits occurred at highest density in open
brush, moderate density on recent burn areas, and lowest density in
mature chaparral stands [68]. Wagle [65] reported that fire suppression
in grasslands is detrimental to populations of small bird and mammal
herbivores due to organic matter accumulation and reduced plant vigor.

The 1988 fires in Yellowstone National Park have probably benefited
coyotes. Fire in combination with drought likely increased available
carrion the fall and winter following the fire. Additionally, the fires
stimulated grass production, which should lead to an increase in small
mammal populations [45].

In California, coyotes are abundant in young chaparral (less than 20
years old) and are rare or absent in chaparral that has not been burned
for 20 years or more [51]. Quinn [51] observed more coyote sign during
the second and third years after a chamise (Adenostoma spp.) chaparral
wildfire in Riverside County than had been observed prior to burning.
Coyote numbers increased during the second and third years following a
chaparral fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills [39].

Known predators 16

Canis latrans is prey of:
Homo sapiens

Based on studies in:
Canada: Manitoba (Forest)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.

Known prey organisms 17

Canis latrans preys on:
Spermophilus richardsonii
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus
Microtus ochrogaster
Peromyscus maniculatus
Schismus barbatus
seeds of other plants
Chaetodipus penicillatus
Oreoscoptes montanus
Turdus migratorius
Mimus polyglottos
Cardinalis cardinalis
Lampropeltis triangulum
Anas strepera
Anas acuta
Anas cyanoptera
Parabuteo unicinctus
Cyrtonyx montezumae
Fulica americana
Zenaida asiatica
Chordeiles minor
Amphispiza bilineata
Corvus corax
Didelphis virginiana
Blarina brevicauda
Blarina carolinensis
Neurotrichus gibbsii
Sylvilagus floridanus
Sylvilagus nuttallii
Marmota monax
Spermophilus beecheyi
Spermophilus lateralis
Spermophilus washingtoni
Glaucomys sabrinus
Ammospermophilus leucurus
Tamias alpinus
Tamias dorsalis
Tamias merriami
Thomomys mazama
Dipodomys compactus
Dipodomys deserti
Dipodomys microps
Dipodomys venustus
Perognathus fasciatus
Peromyscus boylii
Microtus californicus
Ondatra zibethicus
Reithrodontomys megalotis
Sigmodon fulviventer
Neotoma lepida
Onychomys arenicola
Lontra canadensis
Mustela frenata
Procyon lotor
Bassariscus astutus
Canis lupus
Vulpes vulpes
Cervus elaphus
Odocoileus virginianus
Lemmiscus curtatus
Chaetodipus baileyi
Falcipennis canadensis
Peromyscus aztecus
Canis lupus familiaris

Based on studies in:
Canada: Manitoba (Grassland)
USA: Arizona (Forest, Montane)
USA: Montana (Tundra)
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)
USA: New Mexico, Aden Crater (Carrion substrate)
USA: New Mexico, White Sands (Carrion substrate)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.

Lifespan/longevity 18

Coyotes have been known to live a maximum of ten years in the wild and 18 years in captivity.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
10 (high) years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
18 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
15.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
14.5 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
21.8 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
21.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
14.5 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
18.0 years.

Management considerations 19

More info for the term: competition

Coyotes are the principal predator of domestic sheep in the West [44].
Predation on sheep often occurs in the summer [64]. In 16 studies
reviewed by Sterner and Shumake [60], coyotes were responsible for 82
percent of all sheep losses due to predators. However, only a few
flocks typically showed sizeable losses [12]. Coyote predation is a
minor cause of most livestock losses. Most of the livestock consumed,
except sheep, is carrion [64].

Methods of coyote control have been described in the literature
[1,4,12,64]. The impact of predator control on coyote population
densities, behavior, and ecology are not well known. Coyote populations
are able to maintain themselves under considerable human-induced
mortality. Their means of survival include behavioral adaptations and
biological compensatory mechanisms such as increased rates of
reproduction, survival, and immigration. In most areas, coyote numbers
likely are controlled by competition for food and by social stress,
diseases, and parasites [1]. There is little evidence to support the
notion that coyote predation is a primary limiting factor on populations
of large ungulates [12].

Coyote population control efforts may affect the social organization and
activity patterns of coyotes. In areas where population control is not
practiced, most coyotes exist in relatively "large" groups, whereas
coyotes in areas where populations are controlled generally exist in
"smaller" groups. Coyotes have been reported as more active during the
day in uncontrolled [26,70] than in population-controlled areas [71]. Roy
and Dorrance [72] reported that coyotes avoided open areas near roads
during daylight hours in areas where they were hunted.

Coyotes often aid in the dispersal of seeds. Seeds of oneseed juniper
(Juniperus monosperma) and Indian manzanita (Arctostaphylos mewukka)
have been found in coyote scats [24,31].

Coyotes are inflicted with a wide variety of parasites and diseases
which are described by Gier and others [28].

Physical description 20

The fur color of coyotes ranges from grayish brown to yellowish gray; they also usually have a black stripe along their spine. Their bellies and throats are white and their feet, parts of their head, and front legs are reddish brown. Their tails have a black tip. Coyotes have large pointed ears that stand straight up and a long tail. They have large yellow eyes and relatively small feet.

Range mass: 7 to 21 kg.

Range length: 75 to 100 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

Average basal metabolic rate: 19.423 W.

Reproduction 21

Males court females for 2 to 3 months, pairs mate between January and March. Once females choose a partner they typically stay together for a few years.

Mating System: monogamous

Female coyotes are pregnant for 60 to 63 days. An average sized litter is 6 pups, but litter size can range from 1 to 19 pups. When pups are born they are blind, their ears are limp, and they only feed on their mother's milk. After about one month they come out of the den. They are then fed regurgitated food from both parents, as well as their mother's milk. They are weaned at 5 to 7 weeks old. Male pups leave the den when they are 6 to 9 months old, females usually stay with the parents and form a pack. Adult size is reached between 9 and 12 months and they can begin mating when they are one year old. Coyotes can mate with Canis lupus familiaris and occasionally with Canis lupus.

Breeding interval: Coyotes usually breed once each year.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from January to March.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 19.

Average number of offspring: 5.7.

Range gestation period: 50 to 65 days.

Range weaning age: 35 to 49 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 9 to 10 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 9 to 10 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 250 g.

Average number of offspring: 6.

Female coyotes nurture their young inside their bodies until they are born and then afterwards by nursing them. Both male and female coyotes bring food to their young after they are weaned and protect their offspring. The young sometimes stay with the pack into adulthood and learn how to hunt during a learning period.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning

Size in north america 22

Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females.

Range: 750-1,000 mm

Range: 8-20 kg males; 7-18 kg females

Timing of major life history events 23

More info for the terms: density, litter, monoestrous

Social organization - There is a considerable amount of variability in
coyote social organizations. In many areas, most coyotes are solitary
outside of the breeding season. In other areas, such as Jackson Hole,
Wyoming, and Jasper, Alberta, groups of coyotes are frequently observed.
Coyote social organization is influenced by prey size. In populations
where the major prey items throughout the year are small rodents,
coyotes tend to be solitary. In populations where large animals are
available (e.g., elk [Cervus elaphus], and deer [Odocoileus spp.]),
large groups of coyotes form [12].

Breeding season - Courtship may begin as early as 2 to 3 months before
coyotes attempt to mate. The female is monoestrous, having one period
of heat per year usually between January and March [4,62]. Estrus lasts
2 to 5 days. Some coyotes mate with the same individual from year to
year, but not necessarily for life [4]. In the Sierra Nevada, coyotes
mate from February to May, with peak breeding time in April and May [63].
Yearling females usually breed later in the season than older females

Age at first breeding - Both males and females are capable of breeding
as yearlings [4]. However, many coyotes do not breed until their second
year [63]. Generally, about 60 to 90 percent of adult females and 0 to
70 percent of female yearlings produce litters [12]. In years when food
is abundant, more females (especially yearlings) breed. In years when
rodent populations are high, as many as 75 percent of yearling females
may breed [4].

Gestation and litter size - Gestation lasts approximately 63 days. The
average litter size is 6, but may range from 3 to 15 [12,63]. Litter
size can be affected by population density and food availability.
Knowlton [36] reported average litter sizes of 4.3 at high coyote
densities and 6.9 at low coyote densities. In years of high rodent
density, mean litter size is generally higher than in years of low
rodent densities [12].

Development of young - Coyote young are born with their eyes closed.
They are cared for by the mother and sometimes siblings from a previous
year. The father and other males often provide food for the mother and
the young. Pups emerge from the den in 2 or 3 weeks. They begin to eat
solid food at about 3 weeks of age and are weaned at about 5 to 7 weeks
of age [4].

Dispersal of juveniles - Juvenile coyotes usually disperse alone or
sometimes in groups at 6 to 9 months of age during October to February.
However, some juveniles do not disperse until their second year.
Juvenile coyotes may disperse up to 100 miles (160 km) from their den
[4]. In Minnesota, Berg and Chesness [7] reported mean dispersal
distances of 30 miles (48 km) that occurred at a mean rate of 7 miles
(11 km) per week [12]. Juvenile dispersal distances averaged 17 to 19
miles (28-31 km) in Alberta [48], 4 miles (7 km) in Arkansas [26], and 3
to 4 miles (5-6 km) in California [32].

Activity and movements - Coyotes are active day and night, with peaks in
activity at sunrise or sunset. Generally, activity and movements such
as foraging are greatest at night. Andelt [1] found that daytime
activity increased during the breeding season. In Arkansas, Gipson and
Sealander [26] found that young were more active than adults during the

Life span - Coyotes in captivity may live as long as 18 years, but in
wild populations few coyotes live more than 6 to 8 years. The maximum
known age for a wild coyote is 14.5 years [4].

Use of fire in population management 24

Prescribed burning that favors small mammals by creating ecotones and
different age classes of vegetation would increase the prey base for
coyotes and make hunting easier by opening up the habitat [51].

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Kim A. Cabrera, all rights reserved, uploaded by Kim Cabrera,
  2. (c) Yathin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  3. Adapted by Kim Cabrera from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  4. Public Domain,
  5. (c) Smithsonian Institution, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  6. Public Domain,
  7. (c) C. Michael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  8. Public Domain,
  9. Public Domain,
  10. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  11. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  12. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  13. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  14. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  15. Public Domain,
  16. (c) SPIRE project, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  17. (c) SPIRE project, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  18. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  19. Public Domain,
  20. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  21. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  22. (c) Smithsonian Institution, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  23. Public Domain,
  24. Public Domain,

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