Coyotes are powerful predators in the wild. A coyote’s size will depend on a few factors, such as the food source, living conditions, health conditions, and more.
No matter what size the coyote is, you wouldn’t want to come across one face to face. The good thing is they are skittish when it comes to humans and keep away for the most part.
How Big Are Coyotes?
Coyotes are approximately 24 inches tall (shoulder height) and weigh 18-50 pounds. They can be as long as 4 feet, from head to tail. Eastern coyotes are typically bigger than western coyotes, due to eastern coyotes mixing with wolves.
I’ve seen a few coyotes in my day and most of them were different sizes. I’ve come across tiny-looking ones, that were skinny, and others that were larger, with some weight on them. Their fur coats can also make them appear larger at different times of the year when the coat is thicker.
Let’s take a closer look at coyote size and the conditions that affect their ability to survive and thrive in the wild.
Coyote Size and Living Conditions
How big a coyote can get has a lot to do with genetics and also location. Where a coyote lives, its habitat and the available food sources are the largest factors in the potential size of a coyote.
If the food source is scarce, this can cause fewer coyote pups to be born and can also affect their size and weight. Health conditions can also cause coyotes to appear smaller than usual.
Coyotes suffer from many health diseases and disorders such as mange and distemper. These conditions can cause coyotes to lose weight and appear small or frail in some cases.
Some people have noticed that animals (coyotes) with mange are coming into contact with humans more, so it is always a good idea to keep vigilant about not coming into direct contact with wild animals. Source.
Female Coyote Size
Female coyotes are usually smaller than male coyotes. This is true for many animals in the wild. A female coyote is 1-3 inches shorter than a male. They can also weigh approximately 10 pounds less than a male coyote.
A coyote pack usually consists of 1 mature adult male, 1 mature adult female, and their offspring. Sometimes females from the previous litter will stick around to help raise the pups, adding to the pack.
Female coyotes are smaller than males, but they do a lot of the work when it comes to raising the pups. Males do their part as well, by hunting for the female and the little ones.
Coyote Size and Weight Chart
We’ve talked a little about the conditions that can influence the size of a coyote, now let’s look at the numbers in this coyote size and weight chart.
|Coyote Size and Weight||Based on an adult male coyote|
|Length (head to tail)||3-5 feet|
|Height (shoulders)||24 in|
|Adult Coyote Weight||1-50 lbs|
As mentioned before, female coyotes are smaller.
Coyote Size Vs Wolf
Coyotes and wolves are both large canines. There are even some coyotes such as the eastern coyote, that mixed with dogs and wolves in the distant past. Although they are very similar, wolves are generally much larger than coyotes.
Even large coyotes are not as big as adult wolves. Large male coyotes can weigh in at approximately 50 lbs, while an adult wolf can weigh up to 145 lbs! Coyotes are known as being dangerous animals, but wolves are absolute beasts when it comes to size and threat level. Source.
Is a Coyote Bigger Than a Dog?
Coyotes are larger than small and medium-sized dogs, however, a large dog breed can be just as large or larger than a coyote. A large dog is sometimes called a guardian dog, because of its size and territorial behavior. They are great at keeping animals away, such as foxes, badgers, and wolves.
A large dog breed such as an American pitbull can weigh over 60 lbs, which is larger than a coyote. Other large dog breeds such as Great Pyrenees, can be well over 100 lbs. If you’re having issues with wild animals, such as coyotes, then consider getting a guard dog!
Coyote Size Vs Fox
When it comes to size, coyotes are larger than foxes. Foxes are typically only as large as a very big house cat, some foxes such as fennec foxes can be as small as a chihuahua dog breed. A red fox’s weight comes in at around 8-25 pounds, depending on whether it’s a male or a female fox.
A fennec fox, the smallest of the foxes, can weigh as little as 1.5 pounds. Coyotes sometimes clash with foxes over territory, in this situation the fox will usually be the loser.
Eastern Coyote Size
Eastern coyotes are larger than other coyotes because of their genetics (eastern coyotes mixed with wolves and dogs.) According to one study, eastern coyotes are 64% coyotes, 10% domestic dogs, 13% eastern wolves, and 13% gray wolves. Source.
Eastern coyotes can be found in eastern states such as Pennsylvania, New England, New York, and even Ohio. Eastern coyotes have been spreading further towards the middle of America and beyond.
See our article for Coyote Habitats
See our article Where Do Coyotes Live
What is the Largest Coyote on Record?
The largest coyote ever killed on record was killed in 1937. It measured 4’ 11’’ from head to tail and weighed 75 pounds. Source. A coyote that was killed in Missouri, weighing over 100 pounds was later determined to be a wolf not a coyote after DNA testing.
Even when America was trying to eradicate animals that posed a threat to livestock, such as coyotes and wolves, a campaign that went on for many years, the coyote was resilient enough to survive and keep up their numbers.
The gray wolves in America were almost completely wiped out, while coyotes adapted to new environments and became a permanent fixture in the American wilderness. Big or small, coyotes are around us, hunting, breeding, and looking for their next meal.
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