Description: The Coyote is one of the most common and successful carnivores found in North America. They have thrived in the face of numerous attempts to extirpate them, including hundreds of attempts to reduce their populations with mass poisonings. There are at least 12 sub-species of Coyote found in North America. Coloring among Coyotes varies greatly by individual. Most are a patchwork of light brown, white, and gray. Coyotes have yellowish eyes and most have a black tip on the tail. Coyotes have lightweight bones and are distinguished from wolves by their longer, narrower jaws and smaller feet and ears.
Diet/Habitat/Range: Coyotes are opportunistic and eat almost anything available including insects, fruit, small mammals, birds, rabbits, fish, frogs and carrion. Packs of coyotes may gang up to catch larger prey. Coyotes are found throughout most of North America in a variety of different habitats including mountains, deserts and forests. In the United States, Coyotes are more common and observable in the west. They continue to expand their range east and south through Central America.
Behavior/Habits: Coyote pairs mate for life and remain devoted to each other. Females give birth to litters that may contain as many as 10 young coyotes. Males will bring food to nursing females. Coyotes are highly intelligent and have a complex system of communication that includes high-pitched yelps, barks and howls. Packs of coyotes are hierarchical (each individual has a social standing in the group). A typical pack includes closely related adults, juveniles and young.
Legend: Coyotes are popular in Native American and American folklore. They are usually portrayed as shrewd and tricky. One of the most popular cartoons in American pop-culture portrayed the Coyote as an opportunistic and creative hunter that comes close to catching his nemesis – the Roadrunner, but never quite succeeds. In a Native American folktale, the Coyote’s curiosity and arrogance gets him in trouble with a flock of crows that pluck their feathers in order to help him fly.