Coyotes have long been symbols of the Southwest although their range includes the entire continental United States, much of Canada, and Alaska. Many Native American stories include coyotes as a main character. They are often depicted as creatures of wisdom but also as tricksters. If you're camping on a clear night with bright moonlight, a coyote's distinctive howl can only make one wonder about his long and colorful history.
Coyotes can be found in all parts of Bandelier. Members of the canine family, it is not unusual to discover they have many characteristics similar to the family's pet dog. Coyote are omnivores eating pretty much whatever they can find and, although secretive, don't shy aware from living in close contact with humans. In the park, it is important that campsites and picnic areas be kept clean, to discourage these wild animals from frequent contact with visitors.
Coyotes are active year-round. They live singly, in pairs, or in extended family groups known as packs. Coyote communication may take the form of yips, barks, and of course, howls.
Coyote are born scavengers and are often seen along roadways where they can take advantage of roadkills. They will also hunt small mammals and can sometimes be seen leaping high into the air during an attack. Coyote are important predators that help keep rodent populations in check.
In Bandelier, coyote have gray to tan to yellow fur. Coyotes are significantly larger than foxes and can be mistaken for a large dog like a German Shepard. The tell-tell giveaway are their pointed muzzles and those intriguing yellow eyes that are heavily ringed by black.