Coyote belongs to canine specie native to North America. It is smaller in size than its close relative, the gray wolf, and slightly smaller than the red wolf and eastern wolf. It is also called American jackal, prairie wolf, and brush wolf by the zoologists.
Characteristics of coyotes
Coyotes are as big as a normal size dog and comparatively smaller than wolves. They are 32 to 37 inches in length excluding tail which adds another 16 inches to their length. They typically weigh 9 to 23 kilograms.
Coyotes’ fur can be in different colors depending on where they live. Coyotes living in the desert are lighter in color while coyotes in the mountain have darker fur.
Coyotes are mainly live in North America. They are found in mountains, forests, and deserts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and even Central America.
As humans are taking over more land with time, coyotes are adapting according to these changes and now can be easily seen in cities especially New York and Los Angeles in North America to find food.
Coyotes are nocturnal animals which means they stay awake and hunt at night and sleep during the entire day. That is why people hear them howling at night. They use howling to communicate with one another.
Coyotes are reclusive animals and demarcate their territory with urine. They hunt in the pack and pursue its prey until it tires.
Coyotes eat small animals which include mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, fish, frog and porcupines, and a bit larger animal like deer. They are typically thought to be carnivorous but they are omnivores. They predominantly eat meat but also eat vegetables in some proportion. If they do not get any big prey then they eat snake, insects, and fruits.
The breeding season of coyotes is in February and March. Females make dens for their pups in the spring. Female coyote gives birth to a group of 3 to 12 pups at a time. A single baby is called pup while a group of pups is known as litters. The size of these litters depends upon where the coyotes live.
The male coyote also participates in looking after their pups. He brings food for the mother coyote and the pups and helps them from any danger.
Coyotes are not on the list of endangered animals. Some studies even believe that the population of coyotes is increasing with time. Farmers in North America tried to control their population by use of poison and guns but it was not effective. US government has killed around 5 lac coyotes since the mid-nineteenth century to control its population.
Zoologists believe that coyotes are vital to maintaining the balance of nature and its population has no negative effect on the overall population of other wildlife. They agree that an individual animal attacking livestock and pets should be killed but as a whole, the specie is not harmful because of its eating habits, they mostly eat rodents.