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What Do Coyotes Eat

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Coyotes are quite beautiful with their soft fur and bushy tails. These creatures are native to North America and look a lot like the gray wolf but are slightly smaller. The coyote is part of the canine family and is closely related to the eastern and red wolf.

There are 19 coyote subspecies and all coyotes are primarily carnivores. With males weighing 8 – 20kg and female 7 – 18kg, they can have quite a large appetite.

These creatures might look a lot like your loving dog but they are built for destruction. These predators can walk up to 16km per day and they can swim at least 0.8km in distance. They can also run up to 6 km/h and have razor-sharp teeth designed to hunt and kill wild animals.

What Do Coyotes Eat?

Coyotes are primarily carnivorous. 90% of the foods they consume are meat but they will consume 10% of other food types. The coyote prefers fresh meat but they will savage for foods in times of great need or if the opportunity presents itself. Here is a quick look at the foods that coyotes love to consume.

What Do Coyotes Eat?

Small animals

Coyotes love to hunt small types of animals. They are agile creatures and can easily catch amphibian creatures like lizards, snakes, turtles, and others with acceptance to toads. These carnivores also love to catch burrowing mammals such as ground squirrels, marmots, and prairie dogs. They also consume rodents such as rats and mice.

Bird species

Coyotes will also catch and consume any bird species they can find. They often hunt sparrows, wild turkeys, swans, pelicans and they will consume eggs should they happen upon a nest. They mostly focus on larger bird species that move a bit slower or that nest close to the ground.

Large animals

These predators can easily catch and consume larger animal species of up to 200kg. Their prey species include bison, deer, deer, elks, wild sheep, livestock and more. Individual traveling coyotes tend to focus on smaller animals such as lambs, calves or the young of animals or other small species. As a pack of coyotes, they will target much bigger prey such as wild deer.

Scavenge meats

Coyotes prefer fresh meat. Most of their food consumption is freshly caught animals. They will, however, scavenge off carcasses in times of need or when they happen upon a relatively fresh carcass.


10% of the coyote’s food source is plant-based. These animals will consume products such as blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, apples, prickly pears, peanuts, watermelons, carrots and more. They will also consume large quantities of certain grass varieties.

Diet Variations

The coyote can have many diet variations. On rare occasions, these animals will consume items such as cotton cake, soybean, domestic animal droppings, cultivated grain like maize, wheat and sorghum and other food sources. Coyotes also consume snakes for survival and to keep these dangerous reptiles away from their young. On rare occasions, these animals will also consume the young of other predators.

How to feed Coyotes

It is not illegal to feed wild coyotes and there are quite a few of these animals kept in captivity. There are situations where people have tamed wild coyotes successfully and are keeping these animals as pets.

Great Cautions should be taken when feeding coyotes, even if your animal is completely tame. It is uncommon for coyotes to attack humans but there are many reported cases where these animals did, in fact, attack people and cause serious injuries.


Many do advise against feeding wild coyotes. Feeding wild animals makes them less wary of humans and they can become a problem in the area when they begin to scavenge trash cans for food. These animals can cause a lot of property damage and wild coyotes can be dangerous, especially if they surround you as a pack.

How much do Coyotes eat

Coyotes require about 600g of food daily or 250kg of meat annually. The amount of food they consume can depend on their size, age, and their environment.

In winter, coyotes are more likely to scavenge carcasses for food and they consume very little plant matter. Their rodent prey increases during spring, summer, and fall. Coyotes do not hibernate but may choose to increase food intake during fall to help create more fat reserve for inter times. In summer they do also prefer to consume fresh meats and they will eat much more plant matter.

Coyotes that are kept in the wild are fed on a regular basis. They are fed their required foods at specific times and these animals can be offered any meat foods. Coyote keepers may also choose to offer plant matter such as fresh berries and many do choose to offer their animal supplements to keep them healthy.

What do baby coyotes eat?

Baby coyotes can be quite adorable. Baby coyotes are called coyote pups and in the wild, pups are not as likely to survive into adulthood due to harsh natural environments and hunters that try to keep their populations down.

Coyote mothers birth their cubs in an underground den. The mother stays in the den while the father hunts for food and brings it to her and the pups for consumption. Male coyotes do not enter the den but will leave food for the mother and pups outside of the den.

Coyotes can have 1 – 19 pups but typically there are about 6 pups in a litter. The pups rely on their mother’s milk for survival for the first few weeks. Mothers begin to wean the pups when they are about 4 – 6 weeks old. Once weaned, the parents feed their pups on regurgitated food. When they are old enough, parents will begin to teach their pups how to hunt for themselves.

Male coyotes leave their mothers when they are 6 – 9 years of age. Female pups stay with the mother’s pack.

Orphaned coyotes need to be fed special milk formula to help them survive. After a month, they can be fed ground meats.

 What do wild coyotes eat?

In the wild, coyotes mostly catch and eat mammals. They will also eat birds and reptiles and on some occasions, they will consume plant matter such as berries and vegetables.

Coyotes prefer fresh meat overall foods. They also love the thrill of the hunt. But these animals will scavenge on carcasses in times of need or when they get an opportunity. In most cases, coyotes resolve to available foods to survive.

Do coyotes eat dogs?

Coyotes will eat any type of small animal, including dogs. Smaller dog breeds are most likely to be targeted by coyotes. Packs of a coyote can catch animals that weigh up to 200kg which means that no dog species can be completely exempt as prey.


Coyotes can choose to catch dogs for defensive purposes but they will eat dogs if they feel hungry. They will also consume other types of small pets such as cats, rabbits, hamsters and more.

What are coyotes afraid of?

These wild animals are quite fearless. They are strong enough to consume a great variety of animal species including some predatory species.

The coyote’s biggest fear is humans. They are naturally afraid of people but can overcome these fears when they are fed or tamed.

Coyotes do have quite a few enemies with which they may compete for food. Their enemies include cougars, foxes, bobcats, and bears. These animals will only choose to engage if they are fighting for food. Coyote pups can also become victims to eagles when they leave the den from the age of 4 weeks.

Are coyotes dangerous?

Coyotes have been known to attack humans and pets. They are a potential danger to people and they pose a greater risk to children and animals.

The chances of a coyote simply charging and attacking you are pretty slim. Their instincts usually tell them to flee instead of attacking. Coyotes may choose to attack when they feel threatened. They are also more likely to attack if they are fed and overcome their fear of humans through regular contact.

Coyotes that have been kept as pets since a tender age can be quite friendly. They are not very likely to attack humans or animals as long as they are kept in healthy circumstances.

Wild coyotes that display tame signs could also be infected with rabies disease in which case they are unpredictable and extremely dangerous.

Do coyotes attack humans at night?

Coyotes are nocturnal. This means that they sleep during the day and hunt at night. You are much more likely to encounter a coyote at night than during the day.

Coyotes are not likely to simply attack. In most cases, they only attack when they feel threatened or when they lose their fear of people after being fed for a long time. There are however occasions where coyotes did in fact attack and kill humans. A good example is a case where a child was taken by a coyote in 1980.

Coyotes do not go out of their way to attack humans at night. They simply hunt at night and might choose to attack at this time if they feel threatened.

Coyotes are beautiful, fearless and fierce creatures. They are wonderful to behold but can be dangerous. It is best to avoid contact with wild coyotes and not to try to domesticate a wild coyote. They are happiest in their natural habitat but are also perfectly domesticable if they are treated as a pet from an early stage.

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