Coyotes and their Families
When most people think of coyotes, they often associate them with dogs or wolves. In fact, coyotes, dogs and wolves are all part of the same family. Each type of animal has special traits that make them unique. Coyotes have many fascinating characteristics that make them fun to study.
Coyotes are fairly small animals, weighing between 20 and 50 pounds. They are about the size of a Collie dog. Their fur is tan or gray-colored, and some coyotes have white bellies. Coyotes that live in cold climates grow thick fur coats in the winter to protect them from the cold.
Coyotes usually live in sheltered areas. They live in dens only when a female is giving birth or when there is bad weather. The dens can be made out of old badger or fox holes, or hollows in the side of rocky ledges.
Coyotes live in packs that usually have between 3 and 8 members. The pack travels together and shares food. When a female coyote gives birth to her pups, she will go into a den alone. A litter is usually between 6 and 8 pups. Females birth a litter almost every year!
Coyotes are opportunistic animals. This means that they take advantage of any food they can find. A normal coyote's diet includes rabbits, mice, birds, and most other wild animals. Although they live in packs, coyotes like to hunt alone. When hunting, they can run up to 40 miles per hour. Coyotes are omnivores, so they will also eat all kinds of fruit and vegetables. However, when their food supply is low, coyotes will wander into urban areas to look for food. A starving coyote will eat garbage, garden vegetables, and even small pets.