Debunking 15 Common Myths About Coyotes in North America

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Coyotes are among the most misunderstood animals in North America. Many myths and misconceptions surround their behavior, habitat, and interactions with humans. As a result, these incredible creatures are often feared, reviled, and persecuted. It’s time to set the record straight and debunk 15 common myths about coyotes in North America.

Coyotes are invasive species


Wild dogs are native to North America, with their range originally spanning much of the continent. Their adaptability has allowed them to expand into new areas, but they are not invasive. They have coexisted with native ecosystems for millennia.

Only found in rural areas


These wild canines are highly adaptable and can be found in urban, suburban, and rural areas. They thrive in diverse environments, from deserts and forests to cities, where they can find food and shelter. Urban sightings have become increasingly common.

Primarily scavengers


Coyotes are not just scavengers; they’re skilled hunters. Their diet includes small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and vegetables. They are opportunistic feeders, which allows them to survive in various environments by adjusting their diet based on available resources.

Slow Breeders


A typical litter ranges from 4 to 7 pups, and they can reproduce annually which is a relatively high reproductive rate.  This reproductive capacity helps them maintain and even increase their populations despite pressures from predation and human activity.

Not protected by laws or regulations


These canines are subject to various laws and regulations depending on the state or region. While they are often classified as nuisance animals, many areas have specific guidelines for their management and control to balance human-wildlife conflict with conservation efforts.

Unable to coexist with humans

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Song dogs are remarkably adaptable and have shown the ability to coexist with humans in various environments, including urban areas. Conflicts can be minimized through proper management and coexistence strategies, such as securing food sources and understanding coyote behavior.

Coyotes are responsible for most livestock deaths


As wildlife, they can prey on livestock, but they are not the primary cause of livestock deaths. Most losses are due to disease, poor weather, and other predators. Proper livestock management and protective measures can significantly reduce coyote-related incidents.

Solitary animals are the norm

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Coyotes are social animals that often live in family groups or packs. They can also be seen alone, particularly when hunting. However, they rely on social structures to raise pups, defend territory, and hunt larger prey.

Apex predators are not crucial

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Bush wolves play an important role as mesopredators in their ecosystems. They help control populations of smaller animals and pests, thus maintaining ecological balance. Their presence can also indirectly support plant biodiversity and the health of other wildlife populations.

Intelligence is limited


These free-roaming beasts are highly intelligent animals known for their problem-solving skills, adaptability, and complex social behaviors. Learning from their environment allows them to adjust hunting strategies, and even avoid traps and dangers.

Nocturnal animals are only active at night

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Prairie wolves are crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. While they can be nocturnal, especially in urban areas to avoid humans, they are not exclusively active at night. The activity patterns can vary based on food availability and environmental conditions.

Parents don’t protect their young

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Both males and females are active in raising and defending the pups, providing food, and teaching survival skills. Family units are key for the survival and development of coyote pups.

Trees are off-limits for climbing


Coyotes are not adept climbers and generally do not climb trees. As ground-dwelling animals, they rely on their speed and agility on land for hunting and escaping threats. Their physical structure is not suited for tree climbing.

Social structures don’t exist

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Songdogs have complex social structures, often forming family groups or packs. These groups cooperate in hunting, defending territory, and raising young. Social bonds and communication are important aspects of behavior and survival strategies they possess.

Ecosystems can thrive without key species


The removal of such species can lead to imbalances, affecting plant life and other wildlife, demonstrating their importance in ecosystems. Essential species, including coyotes, play critical roles in maintaining ecological balance. Coyotes help control populations of small mammals and pests, promoting biodiversity.


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