Coyotes are among the most fascinating animals in North America. They’re also among the most adaptable, and they can live in a variety of habitats. Coyote adaptations include their keen sense of smell, sharp eyesight, and ability to run quickly.
They are also very good at adapting to changes in their environment, which has helped them thrive for thousands of years in a wide range of habitats, from deserts to forests to suburban neighborhoods. And while they may look similar to their wild dog cousins, coyotes are actually quite different.
Coyotes have a number of unique adaptations that allow them to survive in the wild. From their sharp senses to their powerful hunting skills, here are some of the most interesting coyote adaptations:
1. They Have a Thick Coat of Fur
One of the coyote’s key adaptations is its thick coat of fur. This coat helps keep the animal warm in the cold winter while also providing protection from predators.
The coyote’s fur is usually light grey in color, but can also be reddish or brown. This offers the animal perfect camouflage when hunting in tall grass or other areas with similar coloring.
The coyote’s coat also thickens and sheds regularly to help protect the animal from extreme weather conditions. This adaptation helps to keep the coyote safe and healthy in its natural environment.
2. Coyotes Have a Strong Nose
Coyotes have a strong sense of smell, which they use to find food and track down prey. They also use their sense of smell to pinpoint predators and avoid danger. In fact, scientists have stated that coyotes can even smell burrowing animals in the snow. This helps them find food even during harsh weather conditions.
3. Coyotes Have Long Legs
Coyotes are excellent runners and can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Their long legs help them run at high speeds for long periods in search of food. In fact, they have been known to travel up to 20 miles in a single day in search of food.
These legs also give them the ability to jump great heights and distances. The coyote’s hooves are also flat, which helps it to run faster and keeps it from sinking into soft sand or snow.
4. They Have Keen Eyesight and Hearing
Their excellent hearing and keen eyesight help them avoid predators and spot potential dangers. They use their acute sense of smell to find food and track down prey. Because they hear high-pitched sounds that we cannot, these highly adaptable animals are able to communicate with each other when hunting.
Coyotes also have sharp eyesight and can see well in low light conditions, which comes in handy when they’re hunting at night.
5. They Have Sharp Teeth and Powerful Jaws
Coyotes have sharp teeth and powerful jaws for numerous reasons. First, their sharp teeth help them catch, kill, and eat their prey. Additionally, their powerful jaws enable them to crush the bones of their prey so that they can get to the nutritious marrow inside.
Their sharp teeth and powerful jaws also help them defend themselves against predators while protecting their young ones from harm. Because coyotes have all these advantages, they are able to survive and thrive in a wide variety of environments.
6. Coyotes Are Quite Intelligent
Coyotes are very intelligent animals, and they can learn quickly. They are considered to be quite clever and savvy. This allows them to adapt to changes in their environment and the presence of humans.
Modern coyotes have portrayed their intelligence by acclimating to the ever-changing American landscape. As they have gotten closer to human populations, they have started to live in more urban and suburban areas. They are also known to eat food that humans leave behind.
7. They Are Great Swimmers
Coyotes are also adept swimmers and have been known to cross rivers to reach new areas. However, they prefer staying on land because they don’t move as fast in the water as they do on land. Coyotes only go into the water when looking for prey or escaping a predator.
They use their powerful paws to paddle the water while keeping their heads above it for breathing. Their fur is also thick and buoyant, which helps them float on water.
8. They Can Control their Body Temperature
Animals in the wolf family, such as wild dogs and coyotes, hunt a lot. When hunting, these animals often breathe a lot and their heart rates increase, raising their body temperature.
If left unregulated, the body temperature could kill the coyote because they have smaller bodies compared to wolves. Fortunately, they have found a way around this issue. When hunting, the coyotes often take very short breaths, usually one second, to control their heartbeat and body temperature.
9. Their Digestive Systems Have Adopted Their Diet
A coyote can digest almost anything they eat. Studies have shown that the coyote’s stomach acid is more than twice as strong as a human’s.
This coyote adaptation allows them to eat meat that has been rotting for days or even weeks. It also allows them to digest the bones, fur, and other tough parts of their prey that other animals would not be able to digest.
The coyote’s diet consists of small mammals, such as rabbits and rodents, but they will also eat reptiles, birds, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
10. They Form Packs in the Fall and Winter
During the winter, coyotes will form packs to better their chances of hunting and catching prey. The coyote pack typically consists of six to seven coyotes but can be as large as 20. The group will work together to hunt larger prey, such as deer, that they wouldn’t be able to take down alone. This isn’t their typical hunting behavior, but they do what they need to in order to survive.
Not only does this behavior help them survive the winter, but it also helps to keep the coyote population in check. By hunting together and taking down larger prey, coyotes can provide food for their entire pack – which means there are fewer coyotes competing for food. Most times though, coyotes are solitary creatures and lone hunters.
11. Coyotes Have Strong Vocals
Coyotes are known for their howling, which they use to communicate with other pack members. Howling is also a way for coyotes to mark their territory and warn off potential predators or intruders.
While howling is the most famous coyote vocalization, they also yip, bark, and growl. Each of these vocalizations serves a different purpose, but all help coyotes survive in the wild.
Yipping is used to rally the pack or signal excitement, while barking is typically used as a warning call. Growling, on the other hand, is used to show aggression or intimidate opponents. Together, these various vocalizations help coyotes effectively communicate with one another and ensure their safety in the wild.
12. They Have Thick Furry Tails
Most coyotes have a thick, furry tail that they use to help them balance when running and jumping. The coyote’s tail also plays a vital role in communication.
Coyotes use their tails to send signals to other coyotes, such as when they are happy, angry, or scared. When a coyote is scared, its tail will be down low, between its legs. When it’s angry, its tail will be up high and stiff, and when it’s happy, its tail will be relaxed and wagging back and forth.