35 Key Coyote Facts: From Habitat to Behavior

, Staff Writer
Updated February 5, 2021
wild coyote standing in desert
    coyote facts shows wild coyote standing in desert
    Pierre Longnus / The Image Bank / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Coyotes are beautiful, adaptable animals with interesting habits. Discover a selection of coyote facts so you'll be knowledgeable about these majestic creatures.

General Coyote Facts

Start your fact-finding journey by learning some common information about coyotes.

  • Coyotes are four-legged mammals in the same family as dogs (canis).
  • Coyotes are covered in fur that is mostly brown and gray, though their bellies and necks are covered in white fur.
  • They are dog-like in appearance, with a long muzzle and a bushy tail.
  • Coyotes have pointed ears that stay pointed upwards.
  • Adult coyotes generally weigh between 15 and 25 pounds.
  • They stand approximately two feet tall and three feet long (not including their tail, which is usually about 16 inches long).
  • Coyotes can live up to 14 years in the wild or up to 20 years in captivity.
  • Coyotes have a few natural predators, including bears and wolves.
  • They are not considered a threatened or endangered species.

Facts About Coyote Behavior

Some of these facts about coyote behavior might surprise you.

  • Coyotes are nocturnal predators.
  • They are omnivorous animals. They primarily eat small mammals and other animals but will eat almost anything.
  • Coyotes prefer to hunt on their own or in a pair, though they sometimes hunt large prey in packs.
  • Coyotes are very fast; they can run as fast as 40 miles per hour.
  • When coyotes run, they keep their tails down (which is the opposite of what dogs do).
  • They can easily jump over six-foot fences or walls and can scale vertical barriers more than twice that high.
  • They tend to be fairly vocal, making noise to communicate with their family and packs.
  • Coyotes stay with the same mate throughout their lifetime. This means they are monogamous.

Coyote Habitat Facts

Coyotes are among the most adaptable animals with regard to habitat.

  • Coyotes live in the wild throughout most of North America. They are comfortable in a wide variety of habitats.
  • Coyotes thrive in forests, grassland and desert environments, but can adapt to most locations, even including large cities.
  • Unless coyotes have newborn pups, they usually sleep in the open.
  • When coyotes have pups, the mother stays in a den with the pups.
  • Coyotes sometimes take over dens that other animals have abandoned, use hollow tree stumps or dig their own dens.
  • Some coyotes return to the same den each year when it's time to give birth.

Facts About Coyote Babies

Discover how the early days of a coyote pup's life unfolds.

  • Coyotes mate during winter and spring.
  • Coyote mothers give birth about two months after mating.
  • Litters typically include between four and seven pups, though larger or smaller litters do occur.
  • Baby coyotes cannot see when they are first born.
  • They are typically weaned after four weeks.
  • Once the pups are weaned, the parents will regurgitate food for the babies to eat until they can fend for themselves.
  • Coyote pups typically stay in the den for the first six weeks of their lives.
  • Upon leaving the den, they tend to stick close to their parents for a few months.
  • By the end of summer, the young coyotes will start to venture away from the adults, often hunting for food with their littermates.
  • Coyote mothers will sometimes move pups from den to den in an effort to ensure their safety.
  • Female pups usually stay in the same pack as their mothers.
  • Male coyote young tend to venture out on their own when they are five or six months old, in the fall.
coyote baby facts shows pups in den
    coyote baby facts shows pups in den
    KeithSzafranski / E+ / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Enhance Your Animal Knowledge

Coyotes are interesting animals to learn about. If you've enjoyed discovering facts about coyotes, take the time to expand your knowledge about other animals. Start by exploring basic types of animals and their characteristics. From there, explore the various names used for baby animals. Then, learn about an animal you might think looks similar to a coyote with arctic fox facts.