Coyotes stalking gait and quiet manner inspire both awe and suspicion in humans. In truth, coyotes are an important part of the predator-prey balance that is so important to a healthy ecosystem.
Coyotes resemble a medium sized dog (30-60 lbs) with a black tipped bush tail. Unlike a domesticated dog, the coyote's tail usual hangs downward while walking through the woods. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why coyotes have a reputation of being sly and wily. The fur on a coyote is often gray or tan with a white chest, but can vary from blonde to reddish-brown or black. Coyotes have a long slender snout and pointed, upright ears.
Habits and Habitat
Despite reputations of being sneaky and intrusive, coyotes, like most animals, will avoid humans at almost all costs. As populations of coyotes continue to increase in northern Virginia, human-coyote interactions are on the increase as well. It is important to understand the coyotes habits and habitats to help avoid negative human-coyote interactions.
Feeding and Interaction with Pets
Coyotes feed on whatever is available to them. They are not dependent on hunting only one type of prey. They will scavenge or hunt animal prey, or feast on fruits and vegetables if they are hungry. Their most common prey include small rodents, rabbits, birds, snakes and frogs. They have been know to kill larger animals including deer, turkey, lambs and kid goats, and even young domesticated livestock on occasion.
Last updated: July 28, 2018