WOLVES AND COYOTE DIFFERENCES
WOLVES AND COYOTES – WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
BY Christina Merkl – Wolf Education (programs) Manager – AHA
Do to the questions we have been receiving, I thought it would help to
answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding the differences in
behavior between wolves and Coyotes. This also applies to Wolf and
Coyote Hybrids as well. This information is based ofF of information gleaned from both AZ Fish and Game Department and United
States Fish and Wildlife Service personnel. If there are any more
questions or concerns that HAVE NOT BEEN ADDRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE
please feel free to contact me and I will assist immediately. Thanks.
WHAT IS THE SCIENTIFIC NAME OF THE COYOTE VS THE WOLF?
The scientific name of the coyote is Canis latrans and the scientific
name of the Gray Wolf is Canis lupus both animals are in the class of
Canis, meaning they are classified as canines.
WHAT ARE SOME DESCRIPTIONS AND HABITS OF A COYOTE VS A WOLF?
There are many characteristics of a coyote (or coyote hybrid) they are
usually gray with a rusty color on the neck and flank and they also have
black patches on base and tip of tail which helps to distinguish them
from dogs. They weigh 20-30 pounds and are 18 to 21 inches tall and 42
to 50 inches long. They average 4 to 5 pups in a litter and can run as
fast as 40 miles per hour.
CAN COYOTES HOWL?
wolves, coyotes are also capable of howling. The difference between the
two however is that the coyote has a higher octave howl; where the howl
of a wolf is lower in octave.
WHAT DO COYOTES EAT VS WOLVES?
The diet of a coyote includes fruits and vegetables, pet food, small
wild and domestic animals, snakes, lizards and even garbage. Depending
on what region they live in.
POSSIBLE CONFLICT WITH PEOPLE AND PETS:
COYOTES ARE CURIOUS, CLEVER AND ADAPTABLE. THEY QUICKLY LEARN TO TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF ANY NEWLY DISCOVERED FOOD SOURCE AND ARE OFTEN ATTRACTED TO
YARDS WITH ABUNDANT FRUIT AND WILDLIFE TO EAT. COYOTES WILL EAT PET
FOOD AND KNOCK OVER GARBAGE CANS THAT ARE UNSECURED, OR MAY WALK ALONG
THE TOPS OF WALLS AROUND HOMES IN SEARCH OF UNATTENDED DOGS AND CATS TO
Coyotes may consider large or loud dogs to be a threat to their
territory and become aggressive towards those dogs. Coyotes have lured
free roaming dogs away from their owners to attack, and bold coyotes may
attack small dogs on retractable leashes.
WHAT ATTRACTS THEM?
Coyotes may visit a home if they find, food water, or shelter there
FOOD can include unattended pets, birds or rodents attracted to bird feeders, pet food, garbage, or fallen fruit.
WATER SOURCES can include pet’s water bowl or a swimming pool
SHELTER can include a storm drain or any cave-like area beneath a shed or unused building.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you see a coyote near your home, do not ignore it. This may cause it
to lose its natural fear of people, which can eventually lead to
To discourage a coyote, immediately:
Make loud noises
Shout and bang pans and pots or rattle empty soda cans with pebbles in them (coyote shaker)
Wave your hands and objects like sticks and brooms
Throw small stones or cans
Spray the coyote with a hose
Use a commercial repellent like mace, if necessary, on bold animals that refuse to leave.
In an emergency: if a coyote is aggressive, approaching a person, biting, growling and snarling unprovoked, then:
Continue and exaggerate the above motions,
Do not turn around or run because the animal may view it as a chance to chase
Keep eye contact,
Move towards other people, a building or an area of activity.
Coyotes will keep coming back to the same area if attractants are not
removed. Coyotes do not usually become a problem where the guidelines
listed below are followed.
TO PREVENT FURTHER PROBLEMS:
Remove anything outside of your home that may be attracting coyotes.
This includes, once again, garbage pet food, water sources, and bird
feeders that can attract rodents and birds for coyotes to eat.
NEVER FEED COYOTES!
Encourage your neighbors never to feed coyotes or leave anything out that might attract the animals
Feed your pets inside and never leave them unattended, especially at
dusk and dawn when coyotes are most active. If it is necessary to leave a
small pet outside unattended, keep it in a sturdy enclosure with a roof.
Keep rabbits, poultry and rodents in secure enclosures.
Trim and remove any ground level shrubs and branches that provide hiding places or den sites for coyotes or their prey.
Secure garbage containers and eliminate odors by cleaning trash cans
with a 10% chlorine bleach solution. Put out trash containers on the
morning of a pickup, not the night before look for products that can be
used as helpful animal deterrents.
POSSIBLE HEALTH CONCERNS:
There are many diseases that can affect coyotes. Like any canine they are susceptible to the following:
Rabies – Symptoms of this disease include foaming at the mouth, erratic
or hyperactive behavior, and/or fearful, paralyzed, or lethargic
behavior. Call 911 or your closest Arizona Game and Fish Department
office immediately if you see any animal with rabies symptoms.
Anyone bitten by a coyote must immediately seek medical attention from a
qualified health care provider. Whenever possible, the animal should be
captured or killed and sent to a laboratory for rabies testing.
Canine distemper – This viral disease consists of fever, eye and nose
discharge, loss of appetite, and coughing. It can be transmitted to and
from dogs through bodily fluids. Symptoms can appear similar to those of
Canine heartworm – Coyotes can serve as carriers of this type of heartworm, which is spread among dogs by mosquitoes.
Mange mite – Coyotes may be a host for the itch or mange mite. Female
mites can burrow into the skin. Coyotes with mange can lose their hair,
which can make it difficult for them to control their body temperatures.
Mange must be extremely severe before it disables a coyote. Most
coyotes can survive with the disease for a long time.
Tapeworm – Coyotes can carry dog tapeworm, which can cause hydatid cyst disease in humans.