coyote Canis latrans
What is a Coyote?
A coyote is an animal that is a mammal. Like all mammals, it has four limbs (legs). It has hair (fur). Its body temperature is kept at the same level regardless of the outside temperature. Its young are born after developing inside the mother's body in a special organ called the uterus. After birth, the young are fed with milk produced in the female’s mammary glands. It has a complex brain.
What does It Look Like?
The color of its back fur varies, but it is usually gray or red‐gray with a partial black stripe in the middle. The belly fur is a cream‐gray color. The ears are pointed. Fur on the ears is shaded red on the back. The tail is fluffy with a black tip.
How Big is It?
The coyote’s body is 32 to 37 inches long. Its tail is 11 to 16 inches in length. An adult coyote weighs 20 to 40 pounds.
Where does It Live?
The coyote may be found statewide in Illinois. This mammal lives in woodlands, wooded bluffs, farm fields, prairies, cities and towns.
How does It Reproduce?
Mating occurs in February with young born in April. The same pair may mate for more than one year. Litter size varies, but six or seven young are typically born to a female. Young are born and raised in a burrow or den. The male brings food to the female and pups. When the young can eat solid food (about six weeks after birth), the adults may regurgitate partially digested food for them.
What does It Eat?
It eats mice, rabbits, fruits and dead animals.
Does Anything Eat It?
Adult coyotes in other places do have predators, such as mountain lions and wolves, but none of those natural predator species are regularly found in Illinois. Coyote pups may sometimes be caught by dogs and other predators. Humans hunt and trap coyotes.
What Else should I Know About It?
Coyotes make “yip‐yap” sounds. (Click here to hear coyotes howling!)
A coyote’s tail is held between its back legs as it runs.
Can I hunt It?
The coyote may be legally hunted in Illinois following all relevant laws and regulations. Specific hunting information about the coyote is included in the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations.