[Infographic] Coyote fast facts

Coyote Fast Facts

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The Remarkable Coyote: A Closer Look at North America’s Song Dog

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are one of the most adaptable wild canines in North America. These clever predators have thrived despite habitat loss and campaigns trying to eradicate them. This article takes a closer look at what makes coyotes such survivors.

The Power of the Pack

Coyotes live in tight-knit family groups rather than relying on brute individual strength. Their packs typically have 3-10 members led by a monogamous alpha pair. Complex social bonds and group hunting allow them to take down prey much larger than any one coyote could tackle alone. Coordinated pack defense also helps coyotes drive away bears, mountain lions, and other predators from their territories.

Size, Weight, and Physical Attributes

  • Average dimensions:
    • Height – 1 to 1.5 feet at the shoulder
    • Length – 3 to 4.5 feet from nose to tail tip
    • Weight – 20 to 50 pounds depending on sex and food availability
  • Identifying features:
    • Pointed, erect ears
    • Long, slender muzzle for sniffing prey
    • Bushy tail, often carried low when relaxed
    • Narrow chest and deep abdomen to accommodate lung capacity needed for long distance running
    • Forepaws have 5 toes each, hind paws have 4 toes each with non-retractable claws

Adaptations for Speed, Stamina, and Stealth

Coyotes can reach speeds over 40 miles per hour allowing them to prey on fleet-footed animals like pronghorn fawns and rabbits. Their endurance helps them range 10 miles or more daily while hunting. Keen senses adapted for predation include:

  • Exceptional eyesight and hearing
  • Heightened sense of smell allowing them to stalk prey subtly downwind
  • Specialized scent glands for marking territory boundaries

Diverse Diet Reflecting Opportunism

As adaptable generalist carnivores, coyotes consume a wide variety of foods depending on seasonal availability:

  • Rabbits, rodents, insects, fruit and native plants during non-winter months
  • Ungulates, livestock, poultry and pets during colder months when plant food is scarce
  • Carrion from animal carcasses supplement their protein intake year round

Resilience Across Habitats

Coyotes thrive across an impressive breadth of habitat types including prairies, forests, deserts, and the urban/suburban fringe. While once limited to central North America they now range from Alaska to Central America thanks to their flexibility.

Coyotes warrant appreciation as an iconic part of the North American wilderness. Understanding the remarkable coyote provides insight into how complex predator-prey interactions shape animal communities. Their resilience across landscapes also highlights the ingenuity of biological adaptation.

You can also learn more about How to hunt coyotes during the day  through this article

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