Appearance, Diet & Habits
A coyote reminds one of a small German shepherd dog. Coyotes weigh between 20 and 45 pounds, have a bushy tail with a black tip, are yellowish gray with a whitish throat and belly, their ears are prominent, and their tail is held below their back while running.
90% of a coyote’s diet is small mammals, but they will also eat birds, snakes, insects, fish, fruit and vegetables. Coyotes are opportunistic hunters, feeding primarily on what is most available: squirrels, voles, mice, rabbits, injured or sick deer. They rarely kill prey larger than themselves, but will scavenge on a fresh carcass. Coyotes are capable of taking a small dog (less than 15 pounds) or a cat, but they rarely take supervised pets.
Coyotes live in prairies, brushy areas, and wooded edges; however, not in heavily wooded areas. They prefer suburban areas with broken forests. Coyotes like to travel along trails/paths or ridges and waterways. They often deposit feces or scent mark with urine along the way. They are mostly active at night, but may be seen during the day, especially in the summer when young are more active. They sometimes hunt in family units, but are more often alone or in male / female pairs.
Their barks and yips usually increase in power and pitch and ending in a long, flat howl. Young have a higher pitch than adults do. Howls increase during mating season, but decrease when they have young. Coyotes can also howl at sirens or whistles. Howls carry 2 –3 miles. Young are born in April and May in dens found along drainage ditches, fence rows, under abandoned buildings. Young are on their own at 6-9 months.
Mostly recognized by its long bushy reddish-black tail; red foxes are actually only 8 – 15 pounds, the size of a large cat.
Red foxes prefer forested areas, but are now forced to inhabit urban/suburban areas, especially homes that back up to fields or wood plots. Den sites, which are only used during breeding season for young, are typically found on the sunny side of hills or banks, along a fence row or in a natural rock cavity. Dens have several entrances 8-15” in diameter and can be up to 75’ in length. Red Foxes typically have a home range of about 140 acres, in regions with great diversity, but can stretch 3-10 miles. They have been known to travel up to 3 miles each night, but travel less when they have young.
Most foxes feed on rabbits, mice, rats and birds. They make short yaps or barks followed by a single squall; long yells, yowls and screeches. During mating season, the female will shrill and squall and the male answers with 2-3 short barks. They mate in January and February; young are born in March and April. The young will leave the den at about 8-10 weeks and are on their own by late fall.