Coyotes in Arizona – Desert photos

Coyotes have learned to survive and even thrive in our human disturbed environments. In the picture below is a desert coyote looking through our patio window.  Although he appreciates the delicious smells of dinner preparation, this coyote will have to hunt for his own meal in the Arizona desert.

wild coyote animal in tucson, Arizona
coyote’s large pointed ears

In Native American tales of the coyote, this animal is either respected for its intelligence or the coyote is frowned upon for being cunning and manipulative.  We carry admiration for this wild member of the canine family.  Coyotes have never given us problems except overturned trash cans on a few occasions.

best desert coyote face photo
Arizona Coyote with white and tan fur

 

wild coyote animal in Phoenix Tucson Arizona
the desert coyote’s nose, face and eyes

The size of the coyote home range varies from one family to another. Home areas are larger in late winter during the coyote mating season, and smaller in the spring when food is plentiful and the mated coyote pairs are raising pups.

Coyote animals in the US and Mexico
coyote muzzle, teeth and ears

Look closely in the photo above and you can see 2 coyotes.  Male and female coyotes mate for life.

Breeding season for coyotes is January through April.   Gestation is approximately 60-63 days.  Two months after mating, the female gives birth to 1-12 coyote pups.

The video below is filled with adorable coyote pups!

Both parents hunt for food and feed the young by regurgitating their meals. The male coyote takes the lead hunting role when the pups are newborns, obtaining enough food for both his mate and offspring.

The face of a Coyote in Phoenix Tucson Arizona
Coyote’s long nose – muzzle

Coyotes have large triangular ears and a long, narrow muzzle.  They have an extremely well-developed sense of smell!  The coyote has intense yellow eyes.   As beautiful as this wild animal is; we also know how dangerous and how big the coyote’s teeth are!

Tucson Arizona Desert Coyote animal
the coyote bushy tail and thick winter fur

Since the dog, coyote and wolf are from the same family, Canidae, there is similar  resemblance. Coyotes have a bushy tail which is usually tipped in black and is carried down when the animal moves.    One way to tell the coyote apart from its cousin the wolf; is to watch its tail when it runs. Coyotes run with their tail down and wolves run with their tail straight out.

For more coyote facts and information see this article:  Arizona Desert Prairie Wolf

 

 

Arizona Coyotes – Prairie Wolf desert animals

The most famous desert animal is the coyote.  One could even consider the coyote as a symbol of the West.  Native American legends call the coyote the WISE ONE. Our relatives live in a natural area of the Sonoran Desert with a first hand view of coyote behaviors.

Sometimes called the Prairie Wolf, coyotes are a species of canine found throughout North America from eastern Alaska to New England and south into Mexico and Panama.

  • Family: Canidae – Order: Carnivora – Species: Canis latrans
coyote in Tucson Arizona
coyote in the desert during summer

With their narrow face and big ears a coyote can be mistaken for a medium sized dog. The coyote’s fur color is light brown to grayish.  They have a long, bushy tail with a black tip.  Desert coyotes only weigh 15 to 25 pounds with long slender legs and small feet.  You will NEVER see a fat coyote in the wild.

coyote in arizona desert
coyote in the Arizona Desert

The picture above was taken while we stood in the backyard.  Most evenings, as the sun begins to set the coyotes start the hunt for food.  No matter how well we try to hide they know we are there.

The coyote is intelligent and has keen senses that adapt it for survival.  They have excellent vision, acute hearing, and an extremely sensitive nose!

The coyote’s elongated nose, muzzle, has a highly developed sense of smell to detect prey, other coyotes and us humans.

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources  The coyote’s eyesight is six times greater than humans.  The sense of smell of the coyote is 23 times better than a human.

Coyote Phoenix Tucson Arizona
Coyote’s tan fur and bushy tail

Coyotes typically sing a wake up song around dusk as they prepare for a hunt.  They make unique sounds to communicate with their family members.

To hear the sounds of a coyote try here: Arizona Desert Museum Coyote sounds

Coyotes adjust their hunting style to what foods are available. When they hunt small prey alone, they usually stalk it and then pounce. If the prey is larger like a deer, coyote will often hunt in small packs and work together to kill the prey.

coyote in the Tucson desert
Arizona Coyote

Coyotes are omnivores, which means they will eat or try to eat just about anything. In the Sonoran Desert, coyotes vary their diet with the seasons. Cactus fruit, mesquite beans, flowers, insects, rodents, lizards, rabbits, birds, and snakes make up some of their dietary choices.

Secure your garbage cans because coyotes will knock them over. Coyotes also walk along the tops of walls around homes in search of unattended dogs and cats to eat.  Coyotes have lured free-roaming dogs away from their owners to attack them.  They are cunning.

Coyote in our Arizona yard
Coyote in our Arizona yard

The most common enemy that coyotes face is disease. Bears, wolves and mountain lions will also prey upon coyotes.  A pack of coyotes is their strength and should never be underestimated.  How fast can a coyote run?  They run up to 30 mph.

coyote animal face, eyes in Saguaro National Park
Eyes of the Arizona Prairie Wolf, Coyote species

Coyotes have a central den site which is used for rearing the pups and sleeping. They will scent mark the area around the den and defend it from other coyotes. The breeding season is February to March with young born in April and May. Coyotes only use dens for whelping pups.

In the wild, coyotes live between 10-14 years. In captivity coyotes are known to live much longer, as many as 20 years.

Coyote is always out there waiting, and Coyote is always hungry. – Navajo Proverb

Many Native American tribes consider the coyote to be their creator. Some tribes also regard Coyote as teacher and magician. Coyote is often associated with the “trickster.” In all of its roles, Coyote is a benevolent figure, intentionally or otherwise helping us to restore balance and order.