(Canis latrans)




Facts about this animal

Coyotes are predominantly grey in colour, with a light gray to cream-coloured belly. They are similar in appearance to Grey wolves, but smaller, more slender, with proportionally bigger, pointed ears and a slender muzzle. Males weight about 11-16 kg, females are a bit smaller.


Coyotes form loose family groups, not tight family packs like wolves. Usually they hunt alone or in pairs. They mate in February and dig a den under a tree, stump or rock. About 60 days later, 4 to 6 fully furred but blind pups are born. Both parents share in the responsibility of raising the young. Weaning begins at three weeks. At 10 weeks they begin to learn to hunt and leave the parents at about 7-8 months of age. A coyote family may have a territory with a diameter of about 50 km². They mark this territory by urinating at certain locations and leaving their scat in plain view on main trails for other coyotes to see. This scat is easy to recognize as it looks like hairy grey dog droppings.


Coyotes are opportunistic carnivores, eating nearly all they can catch or find. That's why they are able to occupy so many different habitat types. During the last centuries coyotes expanded their range considerably, occupying now nearly all of North America. Like racoons coyotes adapt to and can even benefit from human environs. Land conversion and removal of wolves have assisted coyote expansion.

Did you know?
That coyotes live in major cities of the USA, feeding off human garbage and hunting mice and rats? They have adapted so well to the urban environment, that few people even know the coyotes are there.


Name (Scientific) Canis latrans
Name (English) Coyote
Name (French) Coyote
Name (German) Kojote
Name (Spanish) Coyote
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Range North and Central America
Habitat Many types of habitats: prairie, deserts, forests, agricultural, suburban and urban areas, mountain and tropical ecosystems.
Wild population Abundant throughout their range (Red List IUCN 2011).
Zoo population Over 2,000 coyotes occur in captivity in zoos, wildlife centres, etc., throughout their range (IUCN Red List)

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 82 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Manfred Werner

Why do zoos keep this animal

The coyote is not a threatened species and it is only rarely kept by zoos outside North America. In North America it is of educational interest because it is a native species and because of its cultural relevance to American Indians (e.g. there is a Navajo proverb saying “Coyote is always out there waiting, and Coyote is always hungry.”, and it may be used as an ambassador species for grassland conservation.