The Coyote is best known for howling at the moon and chasing the Road Runner (beep-beep). But there is much more to this descendant of the wolf. They are mainly found in North America, Europe and Asia. And they have a very close resemblance to the domestic dog, German Shepherd, but are slightly smaller.
They have a yellowish-gray coat with a cream-colored underbody. They also have ears that point up (stand erect). They are also known for their full mouth of 42 teeth! Unlike the wolf, coyotes usually hunt alone. They can each also have a territory of over 10 square miles. When hunting they can reach running speeds of 35 mph.
These omnivores and will eat almost anything. They prefer small mammals, such as rabbits, mice, and squirrels, but they will also eat birds, insects, fruit, plants, snakes and decaying carcasses. They are most active at dusk and dawn, however they are not nocturnal. They can be on the move throughout the day and night.
The mating season is in early February and the young pups are born in April. The average liter is 5-7 puppies and by one year most of them will be on their own. In the wild, their life expectancy is typically 5-8 years. They are most threatened by hunters, trappers, and automobiles.
If you see one in the wild, don’t mistake their dog-like appearance as approachable. Their first instinct will be to flee from the danger (you). This is good. If they are more curious and wander close, do not feed or try to pet them. Contact the ranger office of any animal contact, as they will be able to best protect both you and the animals. And if you hear them howl in middle of the night, have fun with your tent mates and share some of the facts above…especially the one about them having 42 teeth ;-).