Eastern coyote

Fundy National Park

The eastern coyote looks like a medium-sized German shepherd but is grey or reddish grey with a whitish throat and belly. It is mostly nocturnal although it may be seen at any time of day. The coyote is an opportunistic feeder with its main diet consisting of snowshoe hare, white-tailed deer and rodents. Most of the white tailed deer they eat can be attributed to carrion and field-dressed hunter kills although packs of coyotes have been known to take down weakened and sick deer in the winter. Coyotes also eat berries and grasses when available. A few individuals may sometimes attack livestock.

The female coyote gives birth to a litter of 5 to 10 pups in April or May. Both male and female hunt and care for the young, sometimes assisted by offspring from previous years. Coyotes exhibit a high degree of monogamy and may mate for life. A coyote may live up to 18 years in the wild, but on average probably lives only about 9 years.


Coyotes can be found over most of North America, from Alaska down south to Mexico and from the prairies east to southern Ontario and Québec, and the Atlantic Provinces.

Our eastern coyote

The eastern coyote is descended from western coyotes which expanded their range northeastward as humans wiped out the native wolf populations. On the way, they interbred with wolves in northern Ontario and Québec. This means the animals in eastern Canada are actually a coyote-wolf mix, combining the wolf's hunting prowess with the coyote's adaptability to human activities. The eastern coyote is somewhat larger than its western ancestors because of its wolf blood.

It may be competition for red foxes, bobcats and lynx which depend on snowshoe hares and rodents for food, like the coyote. Although it is a fairly large carnivore and sometimes hunts in packs, it has not filled the shoes of the wolf as the natural predator of moose, except in the spring when they sometimes take calves.

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