Coyotes are native to North America, and are smaller than their close relative, the gray wolf. The species is versatile, and able to adapt to environments modified by humans.
The average male coyote weighs 18 to 44 pounds, and the average female 15 to 40 pounds. Body length ranges on average from 3’ 3” to 4’ 5”, and tail length 16”, with females being shorter in both body length and height.
Their fur color is predominantly light gray and red, interspersed with black and white, though it varies somewhat with geography. It is highly flexible in social organization, living either in a family unit or in loosely-knit packs of unrelated individuals.
Like wolves, coyotes use a den (usually the deserted holes of other species) when rearing young. The dens can be located in canyons, washouts, coulees, banks, rock bluffs or even level ground. Some dens have been found under abandoned homestead shacks, grain bins, drainage pipes, railroad tracks, hollow logs, thickets and thistles. The den is continuously dug and cleaned out by the female until the pups are born. Should the den be disturbed or infested with fleas, the pups are moved into another den. A coyote den can have several entrances and passages branching out from the main chamber. A single den can be used year after year.
Coyotes have a varied diet consisting primarily of animal meat, including deer, rabbits, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion. The coyote’s characteristic vocalization is a howl made by solitary individuals. Humans aside, cougars and gray wolves are the coyote’s only serious enemies.