Coyote (Canis latrans
, family Canidae), often called prairie wolf or brush wolf, is intermediate in size between the WOLF
. It resembles a lightly built German shepherd dog with erect, pointed ears, pointed muzzle, flat forehead, bushy tail (usually held rather low) and a coat of long, grey, russet or yellowish brown hair.
Distribution and Habitat
Coyotes were originally restricted to the North American PRAIRIES and to open mixed hardwood and coniferous habitats, but are now found within farmland and urban areas. In Canada they are found in British Columbia, Yukon and western NWT, Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and east to the Maritimes.
Coyote on the Prowl
Primarily carnivorous, coyotes prey chiefly on hares and rodents, but they also consume insects and fruits (Corel Professional Photos).
(courtesy Karvonen Films)
Reproduction and Development
Coyote (Canis latrans
) (artwork by Jan Sovak).
Coyotes usually breed in February; litters of 5-7 pups (maximum 19) are born 60-63 days later (April to early May) in a den. Breeding begins at one year, and coyotes mate for life. The lifespan is 10-11 years in the wild. They cooperate in hunting, denning and raising young. Coyotes can howl, singly or in unison, and reply to howls of other coyotes, wolves or dogs, and even to car horns or sirens.
Primarily carnivorous, they prey chiefly on RABBITS
and rodents, but they also consume INSECTS
, fruits and human waste. Coyotes are a threat to such livestock as sheep, goats, calves, poultry, and to domestic dogs and cats.
Links to Other Sites
See a description of the natural history and typical habitat of coyotes in Canada. From the "Hinterland Who's Who" website. Also includes video clips, summaries of related conservation issues, and educational resources.
Natural History Notebooks
View illustrated descriptions of a huge variety of Canadian animal species, prehistoric creatures, and endangered/extinct animals. A Canadian Museum of Nature website.
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.