adult coyote

NPS photo / Sarah Stio

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Often portrayed as tricksters or fools in Native American folklore, coyotes are actually social animals and skilled hunters. A pack will consist of a male and female pair, their pups, and possibly an "aunt" or "uncle" that may not be biologically related to the two parents. Pregnancy lasts approximately two months, and mothers give birth to an average of five to six pups.

When hunting, coyotes break into pairs and set out in search of food, primarily rodents and rabbits, but sometimes larger mammals like deer. Coyotes are not strictly carnivorous, and will take advantage of any meal they come across, including plants and carrion (dead animals). This has sometimes led to unwanted interaction between humans and coyotes as they will occasionally venture into campgrounds searching for food left unattended.

Known as "song dogs", these canines use their wide variety of howls, yips, and barks to call the pack together again. If you are at Zion National Park during dawn or dusk, you may be lucky enough to hear the coyote's twilight chorus.

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Last updated: December 6, 2015

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