What do coyotes eat? Everything about their diet habits

Coyotes are fascinating creatures that inhabit many ecosystems throughout North America. Whether they are in the wilderness or urban areas, coyotes hunt and eat a variety of animals. They move around fast and they change their hunting strategies on the fly. This can make them hard to keep track of, and a real problem for most people who live in cities, suburbs, or other high-density areas where coyotes roam freely. Whether you have seen one in person or just on television, you may have wondered what coyotes like to eat and how they go after prey.

With this guide you’ll learn what coyotes like to eat and when they eat it, how do coyotes hunt, and whether a hungry coyote will attack humans or not.

What does a coyote eat when it’s in the wild?

Coyotes are known for their ability to adapt to various environments. They can survive in deserts, forests, mountains, prairies, wetlands, and even urban areas. Coyotes also eat a variety of species.

Coyotes are found throughout North America and their territory ranges from the plains, forests, mountain, and desert areas of Canada and the United States. Because of their omnivorous nature, coyotes can survive in a wide range of conditions. They will take advantage of any situation where they find food.

There are several factors that influence a coyote’s diet, including its age, sex, reproductive status, season, availability of food, and weather.

In the wild, coyotes eat small mammals like rabbits, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs. However, they will also eat a variety of other animals including deer, ducks, geese, and also fruits and vegetables.

Are Coyotes’ diets different in urban areas than they are in rural areas?

The diet of a coyote is different in urban areas than in rural areas. This is because their choices are different.

Urban coyotes are much more opportunistic when in the city and will scavenge for food in trashcans, alleys, and gutters. In fact, coyote scat researchers found that the number one source of food for coyotes in urban areas was human trash, with domestic and feral cats in the second place of their menu planning. Aside from garbage and pets, coyotes will happily eat whatever they can find in an urban area.

What do Coyotes Eat when kept in Zoos?

Coyotes that are kept in zoo environments follow a controlled diet similar to their natural diet.  In most cases, coyotes in zoos are fed a diet of meat, vegetables, dry dog food, and fruit. However, they are not able to hunt for food like they can in the wild. This means that zoos need to provide them with food on a regular basis.

Does Coyotes’ diet include fruits and Vegetables?

Coyotes eat a wide range of foods, including fruits and vegetables.

Some think that coyotes eat just meat, but actually, 10% of their diet is plant-based.

So, if you see a coyote eating something, don’t assume that it’s a dead animal. The coyote could be eating grass, berries, or a fallen apple.

Is their diet affecting their anatomy?

According to a study, a coyote’s diet as a pup will heavily impact their physiology and what they choose to eat as adults.

The coyotes in the study got experience and learned from each successive kill. However, they also benefited from superior musculature and bone structure as a result of regular exposure to their preferred food, bones.

Coyotes that chewed on bones as pups had longer and wider mouth bones as adults, while also having bigger chewing muscles to support the bones. This means that they can bite down on their food harder and get the most out of it whilst they’re eating.

Urban wildlife managers should take a look at this study, it should be alarming for them. Eating easy-chewing trash, as most urban coyotes do, will cause them to have an underdeveloped chewing system. This means that they won’t have the skull needed to eat bones or even another animal’s flesh. That could make them dependent on human produce for their survival, which in turn could create an environment of conflict with humans.

Different Diets or not? Can coyotes adapt?

Coyotes are often seen as a threat to humans and their livestock. But, coyotes are actually opportunistic scavengers and eat what is available to them. They can live on different diets, depending on their habitat.

In the company of humans, they will often eat refuse and leftovers. Coyotes in urban areas will go to great lengths to be able to find food, including going down into underground sewers and rooting through trash cans or dumpsters or other areas where people might leave out food for them. . Once they locate a food source, coyotes are quick and efficient in their movements.

Does coyote’s diet affect our ecosystem?

Coyotes are often seen as a threat to the ecosystem because they prey on other animals and cause them to flee from an area. However, coyotes are also important for the ecosystem because they are a keystone species.

A keystone species is one whose presence has a disproportionate effect on its environment compared to how abundant it is in the ecosystem. Coyotes, for example, will kill other animals in order to eat them. This causes more food sources for scavengers like foxes and eagles.

So, they do have an effect on ecosystems, but the extent is unclear, despite the constant debates on it. Some scientists believe that coyotes are playing a key role in regulating prey populations while others claim they have negative effects on animals.

Coyotes are natural predators to both deer and geese. They can quickly control the population of these animals and keep them in balance with their environment. By removing the coyotes, we risk having more deer eating what remains of our crops, while geese will not have any predators to control their numbers.

Is it true that coyotes can eat dead animals?

They will eat carrion if they find it, but they prefer to hunt live prey such as rabbits, mice, rats, ground squirrels, and other small animals.

Coyotes are opportunistic hunters: they track and kill deer, or eat the deer that are already dead or dying. These scavenger animals typically hunt alone and will attack the deer from behind, biting at the base of their skull. They also like to hunt near water sources where they can easily get a drink as well as find food.

How much and how often do Coyotes eat?

If a coyote isn’t eating, then there is something very wrong. They consume a lot of food and are known for being big eaters.

There are many myths and old wives’ tales about coyotes. Most on the internet can be disproven with research. But one thing that is true is that they need a lot of food. 1.5 pounds of food per day should be sufficient for most coyotes, although it varies depending on their size, the time of year and where they live.

Coyotes are not the largest wild canine, but that doesn’t make them any less of a predator. They can be found from 25-45 pounds, but their size in no way hinders them from catching any game they want.

Coyotes hunting their prey: When and how?

Coyotes are opportunistic predators and will primarily hunt at night, using their keen sense of smell to sniff out prey, but will also hunt during the day when food is more plentiful, especially in warmer weather.

Their acute sense of smell is their big advantage when it comes to locating prey. They often follow trails or scent marks left behind by other animals. Once they spot something edible, they’ll chase down their target.

Coyotes rely heavily on hunting for survival. They are highly intelligent predators who are able to adapt to changing environments. They are extremely agile and can run at speeds up to 45 mph

What do coyote pups eat?

It is said that coyotes pups live almost fully off their mother’s milk at first. It’s not until 3 weeks old when they slowly switch to solid food, with the coyotes bringing it back from their own hunts. During this time, the male coyote will go out hunting for the mother. However, once the pups are weaned (30 days old) both the parents will now regurgitate their food to keep them alive.

Coyote pups are able to leave the burrow for short hunting trips when they are a few months old. They typically go along with a parent or older sibling who teaches them how to hunt and find their own food.

It’s winter…What do coyotes eat?

In the winter, the deer population has a major drop in numbers due to harsh winter conditions and poaching by humans. Carrion is readily accessible for coyotes and white-tailed deer are their main food source during this time of year.

Coyote diets vary depending on the region they live in; some regions have more vegetation than others do. , which is why some coyotes have different diets than others.

Are humans in danger when coyotes are hungry?

Hungry coyotes are not likely to attack a human.

Some people believe that because coyotes are opportunistic and can be found in urban areas, they may attack humans. However, this is not the case.

In fact, coyotes generally avoid humans, but they have been known to attack occasionally as well. Other than that they’re usually harmless. Urban areas are where the majority of coyote attacks happen. They’re not scared of humans quite as much up in these parts, cause they are used to them.

Coyotes are small in weight, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause bodily harm. Usually, they attack kids, who really regret never listening to their parents when they tell them not to roam the street when coyotes are near. The only known cause of a coyote killing a human was Taylor Mitchell, who was 19 when he died after being attacked by coyotes while hiking in Nova Scotia in 2019.

Such incidents are a rare occurrence. I have spent more than 10 years hunting and trapping coyotes, and yet I have never seen one that doesn’t immediately scatter when confronted by a human.

Are Coyotes herbivores, carnivores, or Omnivores?

Coyotes are omnivores and can eat meat, vegetables, or fruits.

They are not strictly carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores; they can eat any type of prey.

Coyotes primarily eat meat during the warmer months and rely on vegetation and berries in colder months.

The coyote’s digestive system is well-suited for digesting meat so they typically consume the whole animal including the head, bones, fur, intestines, and all.

They do not only eat at night; they feed throughout the day as well.

Coyotes will sometimes scavenge food from other animals but their primary diet consists of consuming small rodents (rats or snakes).

Feeding coyotes…Is it a wise move?

There is no right answer to this question as it depends on the specific situation and the relationship between the coyotes and the people in the area. Generally, it is not advisable to feed coyotes as it can habituate them to humans and lead to them becoming a nuisance.

Feeding coyotes can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. First, coyotes are opportunistic scavengers that will steal food from children and pets. Second, they will damage property in an effort to find food and shelter. Third, they may carry rabies or other diseases.

Coyotes are wild animals and there are many risks associated with feeding them. Despite that, some people feed coyotes on a regular basis because they’re irresistibly cute. The fact of the matter is that coyotes are a danger to humans and their pets, so it’s best to avoid feeding them altogether.

To sum up our “coyote eating habits” guide

That should just about cover it! Hopefully, you learned a little something about coyotes, what they like to eat, and how to live with them without inviting them for free food.

Coyotes are not picky, they will eat almost anything. But what they eat when around humans is different from when they are in the wild.

Generally, coyotes try their hardest to be as far away from you as possible. Humans are their greatest fear, but we’re also scared of them sometimes

I hope this article helped you learn a little about coyotes, how to keep your livestock safer, and how to keep your pet cats and dogs safe in the backyard.







Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.