What Do Coyotes Eat? Are Coyotes Carnivores Or Omnivores?

Joan Agie
Oct 06, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Oct 12, 2021
Western Coyote in northern California.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.0 Min

Coyotes are very adaptable, living in a variety of environments such as woods, grasslands, deserts, and marshes.

Wild coyotes, like wolves, foxes, and jackals, share many characteristics with their family. Their snouts are small, their bodies slender, their eyes are yellow, their tails are bushy, and their fur is thick.

Originally, this species was restricted to the grasslands and deserts of central and western North America. The coyote may be found throughout much of North America, from Panama to Canada and Alaska. Coyotes are around the size of a medium-sized dog.

Small to medium-sized domestic dogs are sometimes confused by people with coyotes. According to 'National Geographic', they are 32-37 in (81.3-94 cm) long from head to rump, plus an additional range of 16 in (40.6 cm) for their tails. Coyotes generally weigh between 20-50 lb (9.1-22.7 kg).

Native Americans were highly spiritual people who passed on their history, thoughts, ideas, and dreams through symbols and signs such as the coyote sign from generation to generation. The coyote is portrayed as a trickster spirit, ancestor, and creator god.

They also associate coyotes with a spiritual healing ceremony, which involves a series of prayer chants and other ceremonies that take place over several days.

Wild coyotes are very effective hunters with acute senses. In open regions, they are visual predators, but in dense foliage or forest, they rely on scent and hearing to detect prey. In the wild, coyotes have a lifespan of 10-14 years. They have been known to survive far longer in captivity, up to 20 years.

Male coyotes feed both young pups and female coyotes. Coyotes breed throughout the months of February and March. The female creates a den just before the little ones are born to keep them secure.

Under uprooted trees or even logs, a den is constructed by the coyotes. They may have more than one den so they may migrate from one to the next to avoid predators. The meat of bears, wolves, and mountain lions is also eaten by coyotes.

The disease is the most prevalent adversary of coyotes. Coyotes have a difficult time navigating our congested roadways because of humans. Every year, a large number of coyotes are hit by automobiles and killed.

If you like this fun fact article, you may also be interested in reading what do chipmunks eat and what do beavers eat here on Kidadl.

What do coyotes like to eat?

As coyotes are omnivores, they like to eat both plants and animals. Coyotes aren't choosy when it comes to food.

A wild coyote changes its foods according to the seasons. Depending on what is available, they seek and consume small animals such as rats, rabbits, and squirrels, as well as insects and fruit. According to the Atlanta Coyote Project, coyotes can also cooperate and come together to kill deer.

Pet food, rubbish, and other food left out by humans like garbage, especially in urban areas, will be taken advantage of by opportunistic coyotes. They've also been known to hunt cattle as well as domestic animals like cats.

Even predatory wild coyotes have the potential to become prey. Coyotes have been known to be killed by cougars, wolves, and brown and black bears, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

A young coyote has been reported to be taken by golden eagles. A coyote is also killed by humans for their fur and to control their populations.

Snowshoe hare and white-tailed deer are primary food of the coyote in the northern regions of its habitat. An adult deer can be caught by a single coyote, especially in thick snow. Coyotes are attracted to kill deer by repeatedly biting their hindquarters and rear legs, eventually strangling the animal to death.

Coyotes hunt in pairs or packs in the fall and early winter, and the size of a pack affects their success. Larger packs prefer to hunt larger animals, although they will capture and devour any prey they come across.

Carrion is also likely to be consumed by a coyote. A coyote eats enormous quantities of wild berries and fruits whenever food is scarce or impossible to come by.

They may become significantly slimmer as a result of this. Coyotes in the northeast are fatter in the winter when deer are easier to hunt than they are in the late summer.

How often do coyotes eat?

When a coyote is not active, a small amount of food is sufficient to keep it comfortable. An active coyote, as well as a female during pregnancy and feeding small pups, will require far more. They require to eat more often than inactive coyotes.

Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, meaning they consume everything they can when they can. When accessible, they'll focus on sourcing their preferred meals which include freshly captured gophers, voles, squirrels, mice, rats, and opossums. When their normal food supplies are limited, the odd cat has been devoured.

They devour chickens, sparrows, and other small birds. However, they are not entirely carnivores. Crickets, peanuts, and watermelon are among the bugs, nuts, and fruits they consume.

They will even eat human leftovers from picnic sites or the street, however, coyote scat research shows that this is definitely not a large part of their diet.

Coyotes have a keen sense of smell which they employ to locate food and hunt in packs. Wolf urine, white vinegar, strong scents, and cayenne/chili pepper are all things they detest.

Coyote walking in snow with its food in mouth.

Are coyotes omnivores or carnivores?

Coyotes are omnivores but are predominantly categorized as carnivorous. They feed on meat, rodents, snakes, lizards, birds, and any other easy-to-hunt creatures. When they are unable to hunt, they will consume vegetables, fruits, and even rubbish.

Coyotes are mostly scavengers and hunters of tiny food, however, they do occasionally switch to larger prey. Small animals like rabbits, squirrels, and mice, as well as big mammals like deer, make up the great majority of this animal's diet. Birds, snakes, and even fruits and vegetables make up the balance of the diet.

This species serves an essential ecological function in maintaining the balance of these rich animal populations. However, if coyotes hunt down Vulnerable species, this can be an issue for local animal variety.

Originally, a coyote belonged to the family of species that eat both plants and animals, meaning they consumed or attempted to eat almost everything. A coyote in the Sonoran desert changes its nutrition according to the seasons. Some of its favorite foods are berries, cactus fruit, mesquite beans, flowers, insects, meat, rodents, lizards, rabbits, birds, and snakes.

Do coyotes eat humans?

Coyotes are naturally timid and wary creatures. They will avoid attacking humans and they will try to get food without causing disturbance to humans.

Since the '50s, coyotes have extended their habitat by 40% over North America. Eastern coyotes may be found in both local and urban settings. Eastern coyotes are less aggressive and more playful than western coyotes. Unlike western pups, who fight before they begin to play, eastern pups fight after they begin to play.

Coyotes are excellent at adapting to their surroundings. If the residing area has a large population of people, a male coyote might migrate up to 100 mi (161 km) in the quest of a healthy diet.

Their presence in cities has resulted in the deaths of pets and cattle. This has a traumatic effect on humans who live in cities.

People must be extremely cautious with their pets and keep a constant eye on them. Eliminating wildlife feeding is the most effective strategy to avoid coyote attacks in your area.

Despite efforts of humans to eradicate these animals from the urban city, they have managed to retain their large population, and in certain cases, are even expanding in some places. With the rising expansion of humans, we have begun to infringe on animal habitats.

Coyotes have learned to coexist with people in urban and suburban environments as their numbers have grown.

Although the range occasionally overlaps with that of wolves, as wolf numbers have declined, these animals have benefitted by assuming these regions. Coyotes have grown widespread in certain regions and large cities such as North America, Los Angeles, and New York.

To avoid humans, they might rest during the day and come out at night.

Coyotes in urban areas have a fearsome image as nighttime predators who hunt and kill our beloved pets when left outdoors, particularly pups and outdoor cats. Coyotes are likely to attack pets as food, but the figures are hard to come by since it's tough to establish a coyote assault based only on injuries.

Generally, coyotes are unable to distinguish between food sources and pets. As a result, they have been known to prey on pet cats and small dogs on the rare occasion. A coyote regards dogs as competitors rather than food. Coyotes, which are also dogs, do not consider them to be food and will not attack a dog for food.

Some steps should be performed in order to avoid the risk of dogs and cats. Loud sounds and flashing lights irritate coyotes. Installing motion-sensor lights in your yard will keep coyotes away from roaming there.

Fencing is the most effective technique to keep predators out and your pets in. Fences should be at least 6 ft (1.8 m) tall and sunk a few in into the ground since coyotes may jump a great distance and dig. Clean up your yard as well of any garbage that has accumulated.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do coyotes eat then why not take a look at what do armadillos eat, or coyote facts.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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