Many of us know what a coyote is; these wild animals in many movies put it like the bad guys, but today we will enter their spectacular world. We will see their characteristics, habitat, food, reproduction, predators, and relevant information about these wild desert animals. Besides, in the end, we will answer how we can differentiate a coyote from a wolf, a very similar animal.
Characteristics of the Coyote
The coyote is a very slender animal, and even at first glance, it could look malnourished also though it is in excellent health. The coyote does not usually measure more than 1 meter in height, and males can weigh a maximum of 20 kilos, and females 18 kilos.
They have an elongated but narrow snout and a spongy tail that can measure 40 cm. Unlike dogs, the coyote keeps its tail down all the time. It has a beautiful coat, abundant but short. Colors can be a combination of brown, white, and black. However, the order of colors and the predominance of some may vary depending on the habitat and region where you are.
They have the characteristic that they have a mighty howl. Their way of communicating is through howling, shrieking, grunting, and barking. It usually screams at nightfall (in the twilight), or dusk.
These animals adapt very well to various habitats. They can live in forests, mountains, swamps, etc. Even, it is zones inhabited by the man. However, one place where they predominate is in deserts.
In spite of its dense coat, this can vary according to the habitat; and with it, they can be easily adapted to diverse climates.
The coyote is an omnivorous animal, and as we well know, this means that it can eat as much meat as fruits or vegetation. The diet of these wild desert animals is based on small rodents, insects, fish, birds, snakes, among others. Also, because they have no problem being in urban areas and populated by humans, is a threat to farm animals such as rabbits, chickens, and sheep. On the other hand, they can eat fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
This mammal is a monogamous animal, reproduces with only one pair for life. The mating season begins in February. And the gestation period is 3 months. The litters are confirmed between 4 to 6 puppies.
When they are approximately three weeks old, the puppies can leave the den, but the parents are always under surveillance. And then at 8 or 12 weeks begins the training period to start hunting. At one year of age, the coyotes are sexually mature and go out in search of their territories.
Despite being skilled hunters and predators, they have other animals that threaten them, such as bears, wolves, and pumas. Also, humans are another threat to them, as there are constant reports of coyotes being run over, and hunters looking for them for their skin. Although in spite of this it is good to know that the coyote is not an endangered species.
Relevant information about the Coyote
In North American mythology, the coyote is personified by a swindler and liar, as well as being evil, but very intelligent and impulsive humorous. And in other cultures, they have the belief that the coyote had an essential place in the creation of the human being; where it is said that he kicked a ball of mud and created the first man.
Coyotes are animals that hunt at night. They tend to be more active during this time. That’s why you usually hear howling at those times.
Although by nature coyotes are solitary animals or live in pairs, when winter arrives they gather in herds. This is for survival purposes so that they can hunt more effectively.
How to differentiate a coyote from a wolf?
The coyote and the wolf have a very similar appearance. The coyote belongs to the family of wolves and foxes. However, there are easy ways to identify and differentiate both species.
Despite resembling the wolf, the coyote is a much slimmer mammal, i.e., thinner than the wolf. Besides, in proportion to the size of their heads, coyotes have longer, more erect ears.
The tail is another differentiating element, unlike wolves coyotes have the densest and spongy tail, and always keep it down. And the legs and legs of wolves are thicker than those of a coyote.
And finally, wolves are more sociable animals than coyotes. Wolves live in herds and coyotes are solitary, or they can live in pairs.