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Common name: Wild Coyote

Scientific name: Canis latrans


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalian

Order: Carnivoria

Family: Canidae

Genus: Canis 

Species: C. latrans



Canis latrans is the scientific name for a Wild Coyote. This animal belongs to the order of carnivores and the class of Canidae, which means that coyotes have a backbone. Coyotes are a member of the dog family including dogs, wolves, and foxes. You can find coyotes anywhere in the world except for Antarctica, but some coyotes, like the Ubiquitous coyotes, are found everywhere throughout Northern America, New England to Alaska, and south of Mexico to Panama. Coyotes are originally ranged in the northwest of the United States. In the last 200 years, they have been extending their range. But the most common places are in New England, Eastern Canada, and Florida. They have adapted to the changes that have been caused by the human occupation, and the wide range of the people and the habitats that include forests, swamps, deserts, and grasslands.


A coyote has a lifespan of about 15 years in the wild and there is only 5-20 percent of coyotes pups survive a year. A number of young can last from 2-12, and a coyote's birth interval lasts for one year. Coyotes have been one of the most controversial of all non-game animals. Since 1891 California had nearly about 500,000 coyotes reported at a cost of about $30 million. The ecosystem of a coyote helps keep many mammals populations in check that includes mice and rabbits.


Wild Coyotes weigh about 15-45 lbs, and the length of a coyote is from 75-100 centimeters long. Their shoulder height is from 15-20 inches from the ground, and the length of their tail is 40-60 inches. They are a medium size mammal such as a collie dog. Coyotes are smaller than a gray wolf, but they are a lot bigger than a fox. The coyote's ears are in relation to their head and to their mussels. These animals have feet that are relatively small for the size of its body. The coloration of a coyote is from a range of a grayish brown and a yellowish gray on the upper part of the body. Then where their bellies are it is a whitish color and then the forelegs, muzzle, feet, and the side of their heads is a reddish brown color. Coyotes have a fulvous colored underfur that is long and has a black- tipped guarded hair that produces a black dorsal stripe that has a dark cross on the shoulder area of the animal. Then the tail has a bottled shape with a black spot on the tip. They have yellow eyes and they have around pupil like human do. Finally, the coyote's nose is the color black.


There nose senses a smell that is highly developed and is used to detect prey and carrions. These animals are versatile in their eating habits. Coyotes are carnivorous animals, so there diet is 90 percent of mammalians and they are omnivores. The type of animals that they eat is primarily small mammals like rabbits, birds, snakes, insects and mice and a lot of other invertebrates. Coyotes also eat plants such as strawberries, apples, sasparilla, and leaves that are from balsam fir and white cedar. Part of a coyote's diet includes fruits and vegetables in the winter and fall months. These animals can hunt in many different ways such as when a coyote goes on a "mousing" expedition; they start to slowly stalk through the grassy hills and then start to sniff around trying to get the mouse. When the coyote finds its prey it takes all four legs and holds them together stiffly. Then the coyote stiffens and then pounces on it are pray.


Coyotes are very secretive animals. They keep their young in a den because when there pups they can be killed by predators and competitors such as mountain lions, and wolves. Overall, I learned that coyotes are very interesting animals. They are very protective of their young and of there- selves. They can live up to about 15 years old and there number of young can be 2-12 which is about 6 avg. Whenever a coyote howls it is communicating with the other coyotes in their area. As a coyote barks it is thought to be threatened by another animal. So, it barks to protect the din (pups) and to protect them self. Finally when this animal starts to huffier it is usually used for calling their pups without making a great deal of noise. Coyotes have so many ways to talk and translate with other animals.


Author: Hannah F.

Published: 02/2009




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