Where Do Coyotes Live?

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As many animals decline in numbers and area, the coyote has adapted well to human encroachment. Some of the traditional views of where coyotes lived before the arrival of European Settlers have been challenged lately by new scientific evidence.

The fact that the coyote has increased the areas where they live, however, is not in question.  Coyotes have made their way into most major cities in the U.S.

Where Do Coyotes Live?

Coyotes occupy many parts of North America. They can be found in most of the United States, from the west coast to the east coast. Coyotes can also be found in northern territories, in places like Canada, and Alaska. You can find them in many southern territories as well, such as Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

The coyote is versatile and can change its diet, social dynamics, and even its litter sizes to survive and adapt to different conditions and habitats. They can dig under fences or jump over them to gain access to a place where many other animals would not be able to go.

See our article Can Coyotes Jump Fences

Where Do Coyotes Live During the Day/Night?

Another challenge to the traditional view of the coyote is that they are only nocturnal. While they are nocturnal by nature, proof of which is in their night vision, they also have crepuscular and diurnal behaviors as well.

This means that they are sometimes active during the day and sleep at night. Although many coyotes that are close to people seem to have adapted to a more nocturnal lifestyle.

Whether they are sleeping during the day or the night, coyotes usually sleep out in the open, or under semi-protected shelters. You will usually only find them in their dens when they are caring for pups, or just looking for a place to get out of bad weather.

Where Do Coyotes Live the Most?

Coyotes like to travel along man-made roads and trails. This is the most likely place for us to run into them. Regionally, most coyotes can probably still be found in areas traditionally thought of as prime coyote habitats.

Areas like the Great Plains, from southern Canada, down through Texas. And, the Sonoran desert from southern Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, down through the Mexican States of Sonora and Chihuahua. 


Northeastern U.S.

In the northeast, you find two different types of coyotes. One of the main types of coyotes that are found there is the eastern coyote or Canis Latrans Thamnos. The eastern coyote can be very different from coyotes in the south and the west.

The differences in eastern coyotes vs. western coyotes, like size, can be attributed to interbreeding with wolves. With the near eradication of the wolf within the United States, The remnants of the wolf population were in such low numbers they had no choice but to take coyotes as mates.

The eastern coyote can be found in states like North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and more. Source.

Southeastern U.S.

In the southeastern United States, we find perhaps the largest of all the subspecies, Canis Latrans Frustror, or Southeastern Coyote. This type of coyote also differs from its relatives in the west because of the inclusion of wolf genes, this time from the Red Wolf.

According to the United State Department of Agriculture, the southeastern coyote can be found in eastern parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas. Southeastern coyotes can also be found in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and the very southeastern tip of Nebraska.

The southeastern coyote also contains a small amount of genetic material from the domestic dog. In the southeast, it is more common to see coyotes with melanism. These are coyotes that have black fur. This is thought to come from interbreeding among the different canines. 

Midwest U.S.

In the middle of the country, we find the plains coyotes and Texas coyotes. Plains coyotes can be found in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, and North and South Dakota. The Texas Coyote can be found in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and as far south as northern parts of Mexico. 

Northwest U.S.

In the northwestern United States, we find two types of coyotes, the mountain coyote, and the northwest coast coyote. The mountain coyote can be found in Oregon, Washington, northern California, Idaho, western Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, northern and central Nevada, and northern and central Utah.

The northwest coast coyote can be found living in Oregon and Washington, west of the Cascade Mountain Range. This coyote is smaller than its mountain cousins and usually has a slightly darker coat.

Where Do Coyotes Live in Canada?

The mountain coyote can be found in southwestern Canada in the Canadian provinces of southern British Columbia and southeastern Alberta. The eastern coyote can be found in southeast Canada, in places like Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

In northwestern Canada, we find the northern coyote or Canis Lartrans Inoculus. The northern coyote can be found in Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, northern British Columbia, and northern Alberta. This type of coyote can also be found in most of Alaska, except on the southeastern coast.  

Where Do Coyotes Live in Mexico?

Historically, the southernmost boundary for coyote distribution was described as central Mexico. Present-day models for coyote distribution include the north of Belize, the north of Panama, the north of the Yucatan Peninsula, and a corridor of the Gulf coastal plain in Campeche, Mexico. The coyote is present in all the states of Mexico. Source.

How Do You Know if a Coyote is Around?

How do you know if a coyote is living near you? The first sign a coyote is around is usually the large range of sounds coming from a group of coyotes. These are the howls, barks, yips, and whines that many are familiar with. Scat is the second sign that a coyote is around.  Unlike dog poop, coyote scats are typically filled with hair and bone and appear rope-like.

Tracks are another way to know if a coyote is in your territory. Coyote tracks are very similar to domestic dogs. The best way to tell them apart is usually by their line of travel. While dogs will meander about going from place to place, coyotes usually travel in straight lines. 

In Conclusion

As the top predator in many areas, the coyote plays an important role in many of the ecosystems where they live. One of the ways they do this is by keeping rodent and rabbit populations in check.

They also limit the population of mesocarnivores, such as skunks, raccoons, foxes, and feral cats. Interactions with people are rare and they rarely attack humans or their pets, although you should always be cautious if you see a coyote.

Chad Fox