Coyote Ecology

Coyotes are a mid-sized member of the dog family that are omnivorous, eating a variety of animals and plants. They are highly adaptable in both diet and behavior, and they have expanded their geographic range across all of North America. Coyotes are relatively "new" to Ohio (in terms of their evolutionary history), so understanding their ecology and behavior is important for us to understand long-term impacts on native species, domesticated species, and human populations.

 

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Diet

Coyotes are opportunistic predators that eat a wide variety of foods. Coyotes are largely scavengers and hunters of small animals, but they will hunt larger prey occasionally. Coyotes also eat a number of plants and fruits, making their overall diet very broad and variable.

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Biology

Coyotes are territorial, with mated pairs guarding their space from other coyotes. Unmated coyotes are called transients and move on their own until they find a mate and a permanent territory.

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History and Current Status

Coyotes arrived in Ohio in the early 1900s and have since become well established. Data from bowhunters suggest that their population is stable and no longer growing.

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Population Dynamics

Coyotes in a mated pair produce a litter of pups every spring. Young either disperse to find a territory and mate of their own, or stay in the territory of their parents and help raise the next year's litter.