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Coyote Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

The coyote is not just any wild dog. It is found throughout North and Central America, and may even be a visitor to your neighborhood! Keep reading to find out more about this clever creature.

A Wily, Clever and Cunning Animal

You may have seen a cartoon in which a certain animal desperately chases a roadrunner through the desert. Or you may have read about this clever creature as an important character in Native American stories. It roams the open desert, slinks through the forest, and silently visits city neighborhoods at night. We are talking about a wild dog that can be found almost anywhere: the coyote. But don't get too close, this dog is neither tame nor friendly. Join us as we enter coyote territory.

Coyotes can be found in the desert, the forest, and even walking down the street sometimes.
coyote

What Do Coyotes Look Like?

At first glance, you might think a coyote is your neighbor's dog running down the street. However, the coyote has some distinguishing features. Its pointed ears are very large, and its muzzle is quite narrow. And it's smaller than you might think, on average about thirty pounds. That's much smaller than a typical black lab.

A coyote's tail is also a giveaway. It is extremely large and bushy, and typically hangs down instead curling up. Most importantly, the coyote has grayish-brown fur that really helps it blend into its surroundings. In fact, the coyote is sometimes called, ''ghost dog.'' Now you see it, now you don't.

The coyote looks somewhat like a dog, but the ears are bigger.
coyote

What Do Coyotes Eat?

Coyotes are omnivores, meaning they will eat just about anything. Hunting mostly at night, coyotes are very fond of rodents, such as rabbits, gophers and mice. Fruit is a real favorite as well. If you find dog-sized scat that contains chunks of fruit, it's probably from a coyote. Insects are also a delicacy. In fact, coyote pups practice their hunting and pouncing techniques on unsuspecting grasshoppers.

But that's not all coyotes eat. They sometimes visit neighborhoods. Coyotes will empty the cat food dish on the front porch and take the cat as well. They will even raid the garbage can. Occasionally, packs of coyotes will attack livestock, but this is quite rare.

This coyote is about to have a snack.
coyote pouncing

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