Return to the Wild - Evolving perspectives on Canadian wildlife
The coyote's range consists of the continental U.S., much of Canada and as far south as Costa Rica.

Did you know?

The coyote is so agile, it can change direction mid-step while running, even at speeds of up to 48 kilometres per hour.

Scientific name: Canis latrans
Average weight: 9 kg–23 kg (male)
7 kg–18 kg (female)
Average length: 120 cm–150 cm (including tail; female smaller than male)
Average lifespan: 8–10 years in the wild; 21 years in captivity
A coyote walks through a Quebec field.

Our changing understanding

Several consistent themes emerge in the story of coyotes in Canadian Geographic’s pages throughout the years. First, they can’t be beaten. The animal thrives under adverse conditions, as one article points out, through the process of compensatory reproduction, by which female coyotes come into heat at a younger age and produce larger litters with higher survival rates.

Second, the coyote’s resourcefulness and adaptability are key to its success. First Nations people call the coyote the Trickster. When discussing Canadian ranges, one article notes that science books in the 1820s recorded the coyote as being found only in British Columbia and Alberta. But the article goes on to explain that as pioneers cut down forests and eradicated wolves, they opened up prime habitat for the coyotes while simultaneously removing one of its main competitors — and predators.

Third, the coyote is on the move. Progressive articles document the coyote’s movement eastward on Canada’s mainland. It eventually turned up on Prince Edward Island, then made its way to Newfoundland, where the exploding coyote population is affecting caribou and moose herds, and hunters want a province-wide cull and bounty put in place.

As with the rats, raccoons, skunks and ravens that preceded them, we need to accept that coyotes are the newest kids on the urban-wildlife block. The more we cut down habitat and build, the happier the scavenging and opportunistic coyote.