• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Craig Pass Closed for the Season; Mammoth to Norris, Expect 30-minute Delays

    The road linking West Thumb and Old Faithful is closed for the season—traffic should detour through West Thumb, Lake, and Canyon. More »

Coyotes

A coyote in the snow along a river looks intently while holding a white bird in its mouth.
This coyote just caught dinner
NPS/Herbert
 
Coyotes (Canis latrans) are intelligent and adaptable. They can be found throughout North and Central America, thriving in major urban areas as well as in remote wilderness. This adaptability helped coyotes resist widespread efforts early in the 1900s to exterminate them in the West, including Yellowstone National Park, where other mid-size and large carnivores such as cougars and wolves were eradicated. The coyote is a common predator in Greater Yellowstone, often seen traveling through open meadows and valleys, alone or in packs. Learn More...
 

Quick Facts about Coyotes in Yellowstone

  • Weigh 25–35 pounds, 16–20 inches high at the shoulder.
  • Average life span 6 years; up to 13 years in the park.
  • Home range: 3–15 square miles.
  • Primarily eat voles, mice, rabbits, other small animals, and carrion—and only the very young elk calves in the spring.
  • 4–8 pups are born in April in dens; emerge in May.
  • Like other predators, coyotes were often destroyed in the early part of the 1900s because they sometimes preyed on livestock.
  • Coyotes continued to thrive because their adaptability enabled them to compensate for the destruction efforts.
  • Elimination of wolves probably resulted in high coyote population densities; wolves' absence opened a niche that coyotes could partially occupy in Yellowstone.
 

Additional Resources

References

Did You Know?

Bison in Yellowstone.

There are more people hurt by bison than by bears each year in Yellowstone. Park regulations state that visitors must stay at least 25 yards away from bison or elk and 100 yards away from bears.