Coyote (Canis latrans, family Canidae), often called prairie wolf or brush wolf, is intermediate in size between the wolf and fox. 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.

Reproduction and Development

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.

Diet

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.