Do Coyotes Bark? Learn About The Sounds They Make

Martha Martins
Jan 25, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 21, 2021
Howling Coyote standing on Rock.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

If you have woken up suddenly on winter nights to intense yipping, howling, and barking sounds, then you probably heard a coyote!

Coyotes are very commonly found all over North America and in parts of Mexico and Central America. These animals are considered highly social and vocal.

Coyotes communicate with one another using a combination of yipping, yapping, and barking. Coyotes belong to the canine species and look similar to wolves, except that they are slightly smaller in size. These relatively harmless animals rarely interact with humans but are predatory hunters that target livestock, including goats, sheep, and cattle. When given an opportunity, they might also attack cats, pups, and other feral animals. If you have cats at home, ensure they are secure indoors at night to keep them away from these predators.

According to nature experts, coyotes have very complex and developed communication skills. These animals can have multiple pitches or vocalizations to communicate with the rest of their pack. The intensity of the pitch varies depending on whether the animal is excited, angry, or fearful. As a family, if you live in a house close to the wild, you may hear coyote sounds at night. Such high-pitched vocalization, however loud and uncomfortable, is nothing to fear about. It just means that the coyotes are out doing what they do best-hunt. Knowing about the different coyote sounds is an interesting way to guess what these animals are up to when they are nearby.

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Do coyotes bark like dogs?

Yes, coyotes do bark like dogs.

Did you know that coyotes are called song dogs? Isn't that a funny name! They are called so because coyotes bark but have different pitches and ups and downs in their voice when they bark. It, hence, sounds like musical barking. The barking can be a response to various stimuli in the environment and within the pack.

Coyotes bark like dogs because they belong to the same species - canines. It is common for them to have certain similarities in terms of looks, sound, and behavior.

The scientific name of coyotes is Canis latrans, meaning barking dogs. Barking is usually the first response when a coyote is faced with a challenging situation. Experts believe that coyotes are some of the most vocal animals in the North American region. They extensively use their language to alert or warn their packs when some danger or threat is lurking.

If you are wondering if coyotes and wolves make similar sounds, too, the answer is yes, they do.

Both wolves and coyotes do bark. Apart from barking, wolves and coyotes howl and growl too. Wolves and coyotes are mainly similar in how they move in packs and communicate, except that coyotes have better and more complex vocalizations.

Wolves use high-pitched noises to warn their pups when there is danger around. A combination of barks and howls may be used to show the animal's dominance in the pack. It is common to listen to wolves that move as packs bark and growl at each other to prove who the alpha is. Wolves also whimper when they decide to give in and get submissive. Female wolves will whimper when they submit to the pups that come to nurse.

When it comes to howling, wolves have a longer and steadier howl when compared to coyotes. This is one way in which you can recognize them from your house without actually seeing the canine. A wolf's howl is meant for long-distance communication. A group of wolves howling can be really loud and sometimes frightening for people. Coyotes howling, in contrast, is not as deep, and the pitch varies with different range values. They cannot help but break the howl with yips and barks, especially at night.

What sounds do coyotes make?

Coyotes can have up to 11 different pitches or vocalizations! Isn't that amazing? Even when they bark, the sound's loudness and the pitch's rise and fall can vary depending on how the animal feels.

Another common language used by these canines is yipping. Yips are short sharp blares heard commonly, which are similar to coyotes barking. If you have noticed coyotes yipping at night, they were probably surprised, excited, or caught unaware by something. Just like how dogs yip in excitement, coyotes yip when they spot prey or come in contact with a mate.

Did you know that a coyote's howls and barks can be heard for up to 100 yards? Other pack members can listen to the howls and immediately identify whether the calling animal is a male or a female and even its mood based on the sound.

Male coyote portrait.

What sounds do coyotes make when they attack?

Coyotes are by nature predatory, and they spend a lot of time hunting. They hunt alone or as a small pack. When they are out hunting with other members, they howl at one another to communicate.

When coyotes attack humans, which is really rare, they make a series of threatening growls and show aggressiveness through the voice variations they make.

These loud animals can start with a series of barks, but when the human doesn't back off, they move on to growling. Growling is a low and deep sound that comes from the throat and usually says the animal is aggressive and angry. It is a good idea to move away from a coyote when you see it growling and barking. A mother coyote is very aggressive after the birth of pups and growls and gets into attack mode when she sees humans or other animals getting near the pups.

The vocalization coyotes make while killing a prey can be spine-chilling, especially for humans who listen to it from a distance. A coyote's howl can get extremely excited during the killing. After the kill, the coyotes howling pattern gets aggressive to protect its prey from other pack members.

What do coyote barks mean?

Coyotes bark very often, and the language may mean different things depending on the situation.

If you hear a coyote bark, and suddenly lots of other coyotes join in the chorus, then probably the animals are warning one another about a predator ahead. The sound is like an alarm for them to stay alert.

Coyotes also bark when they want to protect their territory. High pitched barking is the first warning that these animals give any stray canine that might enter their territory.

Coyotes' bark sound can also be heard in response to an intruder (possibly a vehicle) if it gets too close for comfort. They get very territorial at night when their surroundings are disturbed and can even chase behind such intruders until they move away from their territory.

Sometimes, coyotes could bark in the middle of the night, like a form of communication to the rest of the members when there is food in the vicinity, and the barking coyote needs help to hunt. In such cases, the barking will be followed by long-distance howl noises to alert the far-away pack.

If you are wondering if you could have coyotes like pet dogs, then the answer is slightly complicated. It is legal in most states in the US to own coyotes like a pet. You may need to get a special permit, though, in certain places. Do contact relevant people to check.

And remember that these animals, unlike dogs, are originally meant to be in the forest or wild. Dogs are easily trained, and dogs are usually more used to human beings. Training these animals like they are dogs may be challenging. Being in the wild is what these animals are used to. So, do not expect your coyote pet to be as domicile and gentle as dogs are.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do coyotes bark, then why not take a look at do caterpillars bite or do bats have tails?

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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