Coyotes are not as big as you might think. They weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. They have long gray to brownish gray fur, with buff-colored fur on their undersides. The best way to tell a coyote from a wolf is its smaller size, along with the fact that they have larger ears than wolves, and their tails are bushier. They also usually run with their tails between their legs, and wolves do not. Coyotes run in packs and you can often hear their “yip yip yip” sounds in the hills. They are mostly nocturnal, meaning that they prefer to hunt for food at night. They are usually shy to humans and will run away if you come across one of them.    

Habitat: Coyotes can easily adapt to their surroundings, so they live throughout North America.  They can often be seen scurrying through the sagebrush on BLM lands, especially in hilly areas. However, they can be found in open prairies, dense forests, or in urban areas near humans; wherever they can find adequate food.   

Photo courtesy of Kim Keating, USGS

Food:   These sly dogs aren’t always picky about what they eat. They will feed on small cottontails, jackrabbits, pocket mice, voles, ground squirrels and kangaroo rats. However, they are definitely capable of preying on larger animals, such as pronghorn fawns, elk calves, mule deer, and some domestic livestock (they especially seem to like sheep). In urban areas, they have been known to prey on pet cats and smaller pet dogs. 

Fun Facts: Coyotes communicate through a series of yips or howls. If you camp in the woods or on rangelands, you may hear coyotes communicating in the night. Often, coyote sounds are confused for wolves. 




  Main Page 
  Hunting & Poaching 
  Injured Wildlife 
  Wildlife Science in the BLM

Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   



  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo