Coyote Facts

Coyote Habitat, Behaviour,
Pictures Of Coyote Tracks, Safety Tips

Interesting coyote facts. Coyotes are one of the many types of wildlife found in most, if not all, areas of the Okanagan Valley and througout British Columbia.

In fact, coyotes can be found living anywhere from prairies to desert landscapes to forests and mountains, and are becoming increasingly common sights in urban areas (urban coyotes) across North America.

Whether you live in the Okanagan, or your here visiting, you may see, or hear, these highly intelligent and adaptive animals at some time or another. Although generally elusive and shy animals, they are very common.

Here's a few interesting facts on coyote habitat, behaviour, spotting coyote tracks and some safety tips should you encounter one in the Okanagan BC.

picture of wild coyote Cool Coyote facts #1 The coyote, or the Canis latrans, is a small species of wolf indigenous to North America. Also known as the "prairie wolf" or "brush wolf", the coyote is a member of the canine family and closely related to the wolf and the domestic dog.

Cool Coyote facts #2 The coyote has features similar to those of the domestic dog and the wolf. It has long, pointed ears, a narrow face, and a slim nose. Its eyes are yellow or amber golden brown, and it has round, black pupils. It's coat ranges from reddish-yellow fur to tan or grey, with a bib-like patch of white fur around lower jaw and neck darker grey and black on its upper body and lighter cream-color on it's undersides.

Coyote Habitat And Behavior

Cool Coyote facts #3 The coyote's natural habitat is open grassland, coyotes are highly adaptable creatures and can also survive in forests, farmlands, brush country, deserts, mountains, and marshlands. Coyotes do not hibernate. As highly adaptable animal coyotes can change their diet, socialization patterns, and even their breeding habits to survive in wide variety of habitats. They can even adjust to populated urban areas and are sometimes found in parks, alleyways, and yards within some city limits.

Coyotes live in pairs, build dens together and parents care for their young together and at times cooperate in pairs and groups in hunting. They are known to be territorial. A mature male will establish and patrol a territory of up to 50-65 square km while females generally stay within a much smaller area.

Cool Coyote facts #4 What do coyotes eat?

The coyote is primarily a carnivore or meat eater. coyote howling It's diet consists mainly of small mammals and rodents (such as rabbits, mice, and ground squirrels), birds, snakes and even insects and reptiles, but it does eat fruit, berries, and vegetables. It is known to hunt through garbage for food and will also eat carrion (carcass of a dead animal).

A very clever hunter, the coyote is very strategic and will follow it's prey for 20-30 minutes before attacking. It can run as fast as 65 km per hour and can maintain a speed of 56 km per hour while chasing it's prey! Although they usually hunt alone, young fawns are easy targets for packs, and even deer and antelope can be vulnerable in deep winter snow conditions. and when hunting in pairs, one will distract the prey while another sneaks up on it from behind. It's sense of sight, smell and hearing are excellent. It can be active anytime of day or night. Sheep, calves, and chickens are especially tempting domestic prey and relatively easy for the coyote.

Cool Coyote facts #5 Ever hear a coyote howling at the moon? That's not really what it's doing. Howling is a way of announcing their presence in an area and communicating with other coyotes. A lone coyote's howl is warning other males to keep their distance and avoid potential conflicts while he's inviting females to join him. It will also trigger other coyotes to begin howling as well. Yelping is often heard among playing pups and barking is a protective sound in a den, and a parent will make a quiet huffing noise when it is calling for it's pups.
Coyote Tracks

Cool Coyote facts #6 Coyote tracks are similar to dog tracks, although it's footprint is slightly narrower. While a dog has 4 digits on both front and back feet, a coyote has five digits on its front feet and four on its back feet, and it walks with only its toes touching the ground. The front feet are larger than the rear feet and have a larger pad.

coyote tracks
dog tracks

Identify coyote by checking for claws.

Coyote tracks will usually have claws, although they don't always show in tracks on hard ground.

Its footprint is oval in shape and shows only four toes and claw marks.

A coyote's tracks will also be more oblong or oval, the claws less prominent and overall more compact than a dog. Also look for a smaller footpads in the back prints. Coyotes follow trails and old roads and, unlike a dog or a fox, will follow a straight path across an open area rather than wandering. It's sense of hearing and smell are so well developed that a sudden odor or noise can make it change its course in mid-step.

Coyote facts #7
We have never been able to get a picture of a coyote here in the Okanagan! :-(

Wildlife Safety Tips

The British Columbia Wildlife Act classes the coyote as "dangerous wildlife".

Protect yourself and your family, and help protect our wildlife...

NEVER feed coyotes. Coyotes are most dangerous when they come to rely on people or populated urban areas for food. Food left outside for pets is an easily preventable lure and pets themselves can be at risk of attack if not monitored.

coyote picture coyote in winter

Protect your pets. Some coyotes will prey on outdoor cats and small dogs. If you own a cat or small dog, remember that they could be at risk if a coyote is in the neighbourhood. Pets have been taken from backyards, open spaces and even right off the leash. Large dogs are less vulnerable but should be discouraged from coming into contact with a coyote. Feed your pets indoors or keep their food inside at night.

If a coyote approaches you and looks aggressive, stand up, shout and wave your arms at it. Be as big and loud as possible. Make yourself appear as large as poosible by standing tall. Maintain eye contact. Wave your arms and throw rocks or any other objects that you can (not food) at the coyote or even use a deterrent such as pepper spray. Shout loud and aggressive. Always keep yourself between a coyote and small children or companion animals. If the coyote continues to approach, DO NOT RUN or turn your back.

Never leave young children unattended in yards or parks. Normally coyotes are timid and shy away from people, but they have been known to attack people. If you're walking on trails frequented by coyotes, carry a deterrents such as an air horn, whistle, walking stick, or spray.

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