<Ancient Animal: Creodonts........................................................Future Animal: Infra-eye Coyote>

Modern Coyote

(Canis Latrans)

Scientific Classification
Modern coyote, Source: http://www.regensburgerphotography.com/images/galleries/nature/wildlife/coyote_pup.jpg

Coyotes are members of the “canis” family. The body
size and the shape of coyotes look like a collie dog, but the tail of the
collie dog is round and fluffy. Other than collie dog, the other related
species of the coyote include the grey wolf, red wolf and other breeds
of domestic pet dog from Europe, Asia and Africa. Coyotes are found
in deserts and grassland. They weigh between 30-50 pounds. Coyotes
that live in different areas have different coloured fur and different thickness of the coat.

Coyotes are a bit smaller than wolves and are also named as the brush wolves or American jackal.


Habitat of the coyotes

Distribution map of coyotes, Source: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/3745/0

The coyote is like a dog of the domestic breeds. It most closely resembles a small German shepherd. They are a bit bigger than
the red and grey foxes and so they are easily distinguished. Coyotes also have a shorter tail and a rounder pupil of the eye while the fox have flat eye pupils.

Coyotes are clever and are adaptable animals due to the changing of American landscape. They can live in deserts, grasslands, forests, large cities, mountains and also swamps. Coyotes are now found over on the most North of America.

The places where coyotes live tend to be hotter and at a more humid circumstance. They like the humid because the wet can keep them comfortable and there are more waters around for their daily drinking and washing.

Coyotes eat almost every animal they see. They hunt for rabbits, frogs, turkeys, deer, and other small and weak animals. They also enjoy eating insects, fruits and grass. But when there are not much fresh meat to hunt, they will look for leftovers and take in rotten meat. Due to the killing of calves and animals within the farms, most farmers identify coyotes as destructive pests.

Structural Adaptations

Labelled coyote, Source: http://www.lobowatch.com/coyote-glancing.jpg

Coyotes have a very sharp and bright vision and a strong smelling nose. They can even run and chase preys in the speed of 64 kilometres per hour, which is almost the speed of a moving vehicle in Hong Kong. And during the winter, coyotes train themselves to form packs for bettering and effective hunting. Coyote’s thick fur can protect them well during the cold freezing winter. Their coat of fur tends to change in colour. When it is winter is turns a bit light-coloured and during the summer, their fur goes darker. This changing colour of the fur helps coyotes to blend in and “camouflages” within the surroundings.

Coyotes tend to hunt in a large group, just like humans. Hunting in a group helps them to take care of each other. And when something suddenly happens, they will use their echoing and high frequency howl to call for help. Another reason why coyotes like hunting as a group, is because they go in different directions during the hunt. And once one member of the group got an animal, they share and bring their food together back into their dens.

Under the environmental pressure, coyotes have their sensitive ears and nose for better hunting. Without the sensitivities, they will not be able to sense danger when predators reach them.

Behaviour Adaptations

Female coyotes may be surrounded by male coyotes, but they can only choose one of the males to be their mate. Coyotes form a huge family group. During the first two months of the year, the females give birth to groups of pups which contain of three to twelve pups. The pups are usually born in a cave, a den or even inside a hollow log after the 60-days gestation period of the parents. The parents feed and will put their pups as the first priority within their spot. Coyotes usually do not stay in the den for the whole day but moving around the land and to hunt for food. Only the coyote pups which cannot run stay in the den and wait for their parents to bring back food and protect them.

Coyotes that live in deserts are to be very active during the dawn and midnights, while the temperature tends to be a lot lower than the temperature during noon. And coyotes that live on mountains and high climates explore during the day. Once the days are getting cold, and when there are less food, coyotes will hunt all day long and even hunt during the night hours. On the other side, when the days are getting warm, they will only hunt at night and sleep during day time when the sun shines and gets their cave warm and cosy.

They howl in the night and people say that they are annoying, but this is actually the way how they communicate with others in long distances using a unique and loud call, which ended up as a well-known canine chorus.

Under the environmental pressure, they have to be active during the midnights for hunting other night-active animals. They also howl during the full moon because they have a weak eyesight. And with their sensitive ears, they can communicate through the dark nights.

Physiological Adaptations

Coyotes are warm blooded animals. Their parts of the body which are most exposed are their bodies, they are all protected under the thick coat of fur and hair. Coyotes have sharp canine teeth and molars for hunting and rip off fresh meat from the dead preys. They also have a strong nose for sensing smells and a pair of standing ears to help explore, hunt for food and to avoid their enemies. They also have another specialty --- their urine. The awful scent of coyote urine can scare off the predators. Coyotes also urine on different spots to keep their area, just like other dogs and wolves.

Under the environmental pressure, their thick coats of fur are to protect them from the freezing air and to block bacteria from the dirty air which can make them suffer from skin disease.


MDConline. (2010). Coyote. Retrieved July 17, 2010, from <http://mdc.mo.gov/nathis/mammals/coyote/>

National Geographic. (2010). Coyote. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from <http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/coyote.html>

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2010). Canis latrans. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from <http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/3745/0>

Pest products. (no date). Coyotes. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from <http://www.pestproducts.com/coyote.htm>

Dog Owners Guide. (2003). The Coyote. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from <http://www.canismajor.com/dog/coyote.html>