Coyotes are similar to dogs and wolves, but they are not the same. They are about as big as a medium-sized dog and have tan or gray-colored fur. They live in groups in sheltered areas usually and stay in dens when the weather is bad or a female is giving birth. Female coyotes give birth to 6 to 8 pups a year. Coyotes eat small wild animals, fruits, and vegetables but may also look for food where people live.
Coyotes can survive in almost any habitat by adjusting their life style. Most coyotes, however, live in grasslands and brushy areas. They only retreat to their dens when being chased or when giving birth. Coyotes can also live in urban areas, so humans should be careful to keep them away from their homes.
Coyotes communicate mainly by making four different types of sounds. A coyote howls to let other coyotes know where it is. Yelping is used to express excitement or to give a warning. Barking is used for protection, to warn others to stay away. Female coyotes huff to call their pups. Coyotes also communicate by marking their territories with urine or droppings.
There are many myths surrounding coyotes. One myth is that coyotes hunt humans. In reality, coyotes are shy animals and will only attack when frightened. Another myth is that coyotes steal and eat livestock. However, coyotes rarely do this unless they are starving. Coyotes are smart animals but they can also be dangerous, especially when they get more comfortable around humans. People should never treat coyotes like pets.