Do Coyotes Run In Packs? Fascinating Hunting Facts For Kids! | Kidadl


Do Coyotes Run In Packs? Fascinating Hunting Facts For Kids!

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Coyotes are a species of small, dog-like creatures that are closely related to wolves.

These animals are largely nocturnal in nature and can be found hunting for prey at night. Though many of them hunt alone, they occasionally band together to kill larger prey together.

A group of coyotes is called a pack. As coyotes are quite small, they can easily kill prey like rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small mammals. However, in the case of packs where a family of these animals lives together, the adult members may hunt together to bring back food to the pack. Coyotes are very commonly found in America, and have even made their way to urban areas! So, how often do these wild dogs hunt together in packs? Read on to find out!

How many coyotes are usually in a pack?

Coyotes (scientific name Canis latrans), being a part of the canine family, are very social animals in nature. Because of this, it is widely believed that like other canines, they live and travel in packs. However, in comparison to their close relatives, wolves, which are popularly seen traveling in packs, coyote packs are much smaller.

The structure of coyote packs is also very different from wolf packs. A wolf pack is usually led by an alpha male, joined by his mate the alpha female. The rest of the pack consists of a number of unrelated wolves, as well as one underdog called the omega. The pack also consists of the offspring of the alpha pair, who stay within the pack until they are ready to leave and join other packs. Only the alpha pair is allowed to mate. Wolf packs typically consist of between 8-15 members which is quite large!

On the other hand, coyote packs are much smaller. Coyote packs usually only consist of a single mated pair and their children. If need be, other unrelated adult members are accepted into the pack, however, their numbers are smaller. At a time, a coyote pack consists of the mated pair, their children from previous breeding seasons who stay within the pack until they are fully mature, and the pups born in the current season.

Though coyotes live in packs, usually consisting of their immediate family and a few other individuals, they do not necessarily run or hunt along with them. Coyotes hunt alone most of the time, usually sticking to the range of their territory. The only time they hunt in packs is when it is more feasible for them to do so. Coyotes do gain a few advantages by hunting in packs than alone, but those depend wholly on the circumstances of their surroundings.

What advantage do coyotes get running in packs?

Adult coyotes typically hunt alone or in pairs in the wild because they feed on smaller prey like rodents, rabbits, and birds. However, sometimes they hunt in groups to take down larger prey.

Coyote packs usually band together in order to take down larger animals like deer and livestock when other prey is not available. Two or three coyotes chase down the animal, leading towards a hidden member of the pack which ambushes the prey from the shadows, startling it. All the coyotes then attack at once, tearing the animal apart until it succumbs to its injuries. The food is then divided among the pack and brought back to the alpha male and female to feed the pups back at the dens.

Hunting in packs is simply just more efficient for these wild dogs. When working together, coyotes expend much less energy running behind even the faster prey, as they get intimidated by a large number of predators behind them and give in to the shock factor. However, if easier prey like rodents or other small mammals is easily available in the area then it is very likely that they will revert to solitary hunting. Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, and will simply switch over to whatever form of prey is easier for them to live off on in their natural habitat.

Coyotes are also very territorial and are very aggressive when it comes to defending their territories. Families will stake a claim on an area of the woods for themselves, and any other coyotes which cross into their home range are met with the fury of the home pack. The coyote pack will work together to defend their home from encroachment by other packs. As each pack has its own territory range with very little overlap, it is very easy for them to keep track of which area of the woods belongs to which pack.

Portrait of coyote in jungle.

Is a pack of coyotes dangerous?

Solitary coyotes, even urban ones which have become too comfortable around humans, can easily be driven away by making loud noises or spraying water on them if they get too close. However, it is wise to be wary of a pack of these wild dogs.

Strength comes in numbers, and this is especially true for these small, cunning dogs. Young coyotes work well in packs, which is clear from their chasing and ambushing methods of hunting. Though coyotes usually do not attack humans, a pack of them may be dangerous to babies, children, and pets, as they are usually smaller in size than the average coyote and can be seen as prey.

If you encounter a pack of coyotes, the best option is not to run, but to make yourself look larger and more threatening. Running away from them may alert them that you are scared. They may consider you to be the prey and chase after you more. Instead, stand your ground and try to look intimidating. You can make scary gestures like waving your arms in the air or stomping your feet, accompanying them with loud noises. If you present yourself to coyotes as a predator, then they will keep their distance. The way you confront these animals will establish your presence as food or foe for them.

What time of the year is a coyote most active?

Coyotes seem to be more active during the breeding season, which takes place from December to March. During this time, they become more territorial and aggressive, and it is very likely that you will hear them howl throughout the night. They also need more food during this period, to gather energy for mating as well as to feed any newborn pups who arrive in spring, so they spend more time hunting prey.

Coyotes are more active at night, especially in urban areas, where human interaction with them is minimal after dusk. Urban coyotes start their foraging at around dusk, jumping fences to get into people's yards in search of food and prey and continue their activities until dawn. As the alpha male and female begin their pack forming activities during the breeding season, you will find these predators actively hunting down prey and looking for a place to form their dens during the winter months. During this period, young coyotes leave their family and venture out in search of a mate, with many of them starting their own packs.

As the primary habitat of coyotes is in rural areas like forests and woodlands, they have to fight against other family groups which attempt to expand their territories during this period. This can cause a lot of howling and dog-like tipping and barking, which people living in urban areas right at the edges of woodlands can hear.

If you live in an area where coyotes are active, then there are a number of precautions that you should take to make sure your yard and pets are safe from these predators. Coyotes are extremely agile jumpers and can scale fences that are 6 ft (1.8 m) tall! Installing barbed wires or coyote rollers at the top of your fences can keep them out, and also keep them from becoming too comfortable in the area. Once coyotes become used to being around humans, it can become difficult to scare them off, which is why humans should always keep them on their toes.

Written By
Tanya Parkhi

<p>Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?