Q:

What is the food chain of a coyote?

A:

Quick Answer

Fresh meat from deer, rodents and rabbits dominates the diet of wild coyotes, but they also consume snakes, small birds, insects and carrion. According to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, coyotes may eat wild berries, apples, fir leaves and trash. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum states that coyotes are omnivores with four known predators: humans, bears, wolves and mountain lions.

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Full Answer

The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology states that coyotes cover up to three miles in a single hunt. They prefer to hunt at dusk and dawn, especially when humans live nearby. They are shy around adult humans but frequently rifle through garbage containers, especially when live prey and carrion are scarce. Garbage bins with locking lids discourage this practice.

Coyotes have excellent vision, hearing and smell. They are agile and run quickly, but they lack the digging ability necessary to extract small rodents from subterranean burrows. When hunting rodents, coyotes often collaborate with badgers, who are slow runners with exceptional digging ability. When coyotes and badgers hunt together, both benefit.

In most other situations coyotes are solitary hunters, although they form packs to hunt deer. This sophisticated strategy forces the deer to run until it is exhausted and can no longer escape or defend itself. The pack then funnels the exhausted deer toward coyotes hidden in secluded areas. After killing the deer, the pack divides the meat.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the differences between a coyote and a fox?

    A:

    Coyotes are much larger than foxes, as they reach nearly 47 pounds in weight, while red foxes only reach about 31 pounds. Additionally, coyotes have head and body lengths that approach 40 inches, while red foxes rarely exceed 36 inches in head and body length. Coyotes are colored in combinations of brown, straw, gray, white and black, while red foxes are mostly red with red and white accents.

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  • Q:

    How do you recognize coyote droppings?

    A:

    Coyote droppings are similar to the droppings of their close relatives, domestic dogs. They are usually several inches long and cigarlike in appearance. The ends of the droppings are often tapered, and the bulk features numerous twists. In contrast to many other wild animals, coyotes often deposit their droppings in obvious places, such as in the middle of roads and trails, so that other coyotes notice it.

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    What is the difference between a wolf vs. a coyote?

    A:

    Coyotes are smaller than fully grown wolves and have pointier muzzles and larger ears. There is some overlap in coat color between coyotes and gray wolves. Wolves have a greater range of possible fur colors, while coyotes have a fixed pattern of white undersides and gray backs.

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    What are the characteristics of a coyote with mange?

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    A coyote that is infected with mange can display an obvious thinning of hair or completely bald spots on its skin. Its skin will also thicken and begin to develop wrinkles, scabs and crust. In prolonged cases, the coyote may appear weak or emaciated.

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