Communication is key. This is also true in the animal kingdom. Coyotes communicate in many different ways such as tail communication, chemical communication, and vocalizations such as howls and yelps.
What Time of Day Do Coyotes Howl?
Coyotes howl when they are warning other animals, making a kill, or defending territory. They are primarily nocturnal animals that hunt during the night, but they can also be crepuscular, making them active in twilight hours.
Animals in the wild face many challenges. One of them is maintaining territory. Since coyotes are territorial, they sometimes must use their vocalizations to warn other animals in the area, that they are nearby and are defending or expanding their territory. Source.
Despite being mostly solitary creatures, coyotes can be very social when they are together. Even just two coyotes can make a lot of noise, to the point where you may confuse it with being more coyotes than it actually is.
We’re going to take a closer look at when coyotes howl, why they howl, and what it means if you hear them nearby.
Why Do Coyotes Howl in the Middle of the Night?
Coyotes howl in the middle of the night because that is when they are most active. The time of day, or night, that coyotes are most active, is always going to be closely related to when their prey is active.
Most of us have experienced hearing coyotes howling in the middle of the night. Even though it is an exciting thing to hear, it also means that you have predators that live nearby. This can be a bad thing for multiples reasons.
Some pets get very stressed out by hearing the calls of predator animals. If you are experiencing this with your pets, consider taking them inside if you hear coyotes howling in the middle of the night.
Why Do Coyotes Howl in the Daytime?
Animals in the wild are great at adapting. Coyotes have adapted throughout the ages to survive in this world. When coyotes are howling in the daytime, it is most likely because they are defending territory or making a kill.
Coyotes eat on average around 1.5 pounds of meat per day. This means that they must make kills when their prey is active. Sometimes in a certain area of a region, the prey may be more active in the daytime. This is the most likely reason you would hear coyotes howling in the day.
Why Do Coyotes Howl in the Morning?
Just like with the night and day hours, the twilight hours of dusk and dawn can be a time when coyotes are active. Coyotes have adapted to become crepuscular, hunting and being active in twilight hours. You may hear them in the morning because they have made a kill or are fighting off another predator.
You may also hear them around dusk when their prey is moving around getting ready to bed down for the night. These twilight hours are prime hours for many types of animals that the coyote may hunt.
Do Coyotes Howl When They Make a Kill?
Because the howl of a coyote is a basic form of communication, they will howl for multiple reasons, including when they make a kill.
When the coyote makes a kill it may decide to let others in the pack know that there is prey to be had. This is because, in packs, coyotes work together to kill and produce food. They may also howl at other coyotes and predators in the area, letting them know to stay away from what’s theirs.
Not all coyotes live in packs, some do, and some stay solitary creatures for most of their lives.
See our article for Do Coyotes Live in Packs here.
What Time of Year Do Coyotes Howl?
When it comes to coyotes, they are active for most parts of the year. You may see increased activity in months when it is their mating season. The mating season for coyotes is around February and March. During these months, coyotes are more vocal. Although coyotes are vocal most of the time anyway.
Most of their vocal activity is connected to kills that they make in the pack, territorial warnings, and communication that is meant for other animals. In seasons when their prey is more active, you may hear coyotes howling more actively.
How Close Are Coyotes When They Howl?
Knowing how close a coyote is when you hear it howling is not an exact science. It takes some experience with wildlife, to determine distance. If you can hear coyotes howling, and it sounds like it is very close, chances are they not as close as you think.
Coyotes generally do not get very close to human activity. If they are making a kill it is most likely going to be miles away from where you are, unless you live in a rural area.
Chances are, if you can hear a coyote howling then you are probably 1-3 miles away from the coyote or pack. If you think that they are much closer than that, then you should get to a safe position and make sure any of your pets are also safe.
What Does it Mean When Coyotes are Howling?
If coyotes are howling it means that they are busy killing prey, finding a mate, or communicating with other animals in the area. Chances are it is not a warning to you or any of your pets. Coyotes are one of the most vocal animals in North America.
There could be hundreds of reasons that a coyote may howl. However, the reasons we have gone over in this guide are most likely the cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coyotes are vocal, this is probably why they howl at sirens. When they hear a loud noise that scares them, or that they think could be a predator that is moving in on their territory, they will howl at them to let them know who is in charge.
Sometimes coyotes live in packs. When they are in packs they hunt together and eat together. Howling after a kill, or a group of kills, is natural for them to let others know that they have made the kill.
Coyotes howl, but they also sometimes bark. People have reported hearing coyotes barking, yelping, and howling at night. They use many vocalizations to communicate in the wild.