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.

Canadian Geographic articles

The coyote’s no varmint after all, turns out

By Frances Backhouse
August/September 1985

Proving that nature always has a few tricks up her sleeve, writer Frances Backhouse revels in the clever nature of the coyote — called the Trickster by some First Nations.

Viewed as a carnivorous pest for centuries, the coyote was poisoned, trapped and killed by settlers and ranchers who thought that the canine was a threat to their burgeoning livestock herds.

Not to be put down easily, the coyote spread its range from its traditional home in southern British Columbia and the Prairies, north to the Yukon and the Mackenzie Delta, and west to Ontario, the Maritimes and Quebec. And when ranchers and farmers killed inordinate numbers of the animals, they responded by mating younger and having larger litters. 

Luckily, the oft-persecuted coyote began to experience a change in attitudes. At the time this article was written, people began to recognize that dogs were the more likely culprits of livestock attacks, and that coyotes kept pests such as mice away from valuable agricultural land.

Coyotes on ice

By Scott Gardiner
November/December 2006

Biologists 20 years ago had predicted that the island of Newfoundland would be safe from the spread of the coyote; it appears this is no longer the case.

After crossing the sea ice between the mainland and the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador, the coyote is now being blamed for the decrease in caribou numbers. Though they do account for 20 to 30 percent of calf kills, the coyote still kills less than the 50 percent killed on average by bears.

Biologists are also warning that, if indeed the coyotes are responsible for the decrease in caribou numbers, it may be next to impossible for their numbers to be decreased. It may only be possible to manage the population, and hope that the caribou numbers increase.

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