The chances of you coming across an individual who has absolutely no idea as to what coyotes are as good as none. Its popularity can be attributed to numerous citations and references in popular culture. After all, who can forget Wile E. Coyote from the popular animated series, The Roadrunner Show.
Coyotes: Prairie Wolves
Coyotes, also known as the prairie wolves or American jackals, are species of the canid family, native to North and Central America. Their binomial name Canis latrans literally means a barking dog. Adult coyotes measure 30 - 34 inches in length, stand 23 - 26 inches tall, and weigh around 20 - 40 lbs. They sport a fur coat ranging from grayish brown to yellowish gray in color, with white patch on the throat and belly. These canids are known for their peculiar habit of feeding on a wide variety of things, ranging from fruits and vegetables to meat and carrion.
Where do Coyotes Live?
The geographical range of coyotes spans North America, right from Alaska in the north to Mexico in the south. In fact, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are home to 16 of the 19 species of coyotes, while the rest of the 3 species are restricted to Central America. The vast expanse of coyote habitat can be attributed to the fact that they can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions and eat virtually any edible thing that they come across. Coyotes living in mountainous regions migrate down to warmer regions during winter. Even though their natural habitat primarily comprises the open grasslands of this region, they can thrive in any place as long as they get food to eat.
In times of food scarcity, coyotes are known to travel several miles in search of food. Over the period, they have got used to the company of humans, such that they don't even hesitate to barge into an open yard and feed on the livestock. At one point of time, coyote population was restricted to the wild areas of North America. Today, however, things have changed substantially. It wouldn't be surprising to come across a coyote right in the suburbs. In some regions, they are considered pests owing to their tendency to feed on livestock and crops. In fact, the nuisance they create has led people to find out novel ways to trap them.
Coyote is one of the very few wild species which have successfully adapted themselves to the human environment. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has enlisted the coyote as a 'Least Concern' species, with no threat whatsoever. Taking a note of its adaptation skills, it is obvious that this species is here to stay.