Species
Credits


My Links

Ecology

Food Web


Coyote 


(Canis latrans)

by Barry

Classification 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Mammalia
Class: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: Latrans

Physical Description:

 A coyote is less than two feet tall and weighs an average of 22 pounds. The color can be from white to gray, sometimes with a reddish tint.  Coyotes are easily distinguishable by there long and pointed features.  Their nose, less than one inch wide, is very pointed for smelling prey.  The tail is half the length of the body and extremely thick.  When running, a coyote will erect its ears.  A coyote very much resembles a coy dog, which is a cross between a domestic dog and a coyote. 


Diet and Feeding Habits:

Coyotes predate on elk, deer, ground nesting birds, pocket gophers, any rodents, and domestic dogs or cats.  Although coyotes usually have a steady diet of meat, they are scavengers which means they could also eat berries if needed.  The coyote is such a great hunter because it can hunt both in the daytime and at night.  The coyote’s only  main predator is the mountain lion, however on a rare occasion a grizzly bear may predate a coyote. 

 


Reproduction:

When a coyote becomes four years old, it attempts to find a mate.  A coyote’s courtship for a mate usually begins two to three months before the mating begins.  The average litter of a coyote is usually around six.  The younger female coyotes usually have litters sooner than the elder coyotes.  About sixty percent of all female coyotes mate each year. However, when a young and old coyote mate, usually less of their cubs survive.  In fact, only about 25 percent of old coyote’s and a yearling  coyote’s young survive past the first six months.  A study in 2001 recorded that only fifty to sixty percent of coyote’s reach adulthood.   

PRESENT STATUS: LEAST CONCERN according to the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Animal Watch 

Habitat:

The coyote can live in many places.  In North America the coyote populations stretch from Alaska to Southern Mexico.  Coyotes only need a couple things to survive: they need satisfactory prey, and no lack of water.  The coyote (because of its scavenger ways) does not stay in one place for a long time.  They have been known to kill an animal for its shelter as well as for food.


Role in the Ecosystem:

The coyote’s role in the ecosystem is as one of the top predators.  The coyote is a scavenger who hunts both day and night. The canis latrans has a very important role in the ecosystem,  it can help keep down the populations of many different organisms.    Without an animal like the coyote in an ecosystem, the ecosystem would suffer greatly, for those animals (the prey)  would become over populated and leave no food or shelter for any of the other animals.  Because of the coyote the ecosystem supports more biodiversity, or different types of animals.  This happens because each time a coyote reduces the population of an animal by harvesting it, this is leaving extra food and shelter for another species to move into the ecosystem. A coyote’s niche can vary.  It could live in suburban areas and also urban ones.  You most likely will hear a coyote before you see it, they have a high-pitched yip or howl that can usually be heard at dusk, sunrise, or at night.  The coyote has adapted and its diurnal habits have quickly become more and more nocturnal. The pressure of humans has caused them to do so.    The coyote is a scavenger, an animal that eats whatever it can find.  However there are other names an animal could be called regarding what it eats, here they are: CARNIVORE: This organism eats only meat.  HERBIVORE: This organism eats only plants OMNIVORE: This animal eats both meat and plants    

Bibliography:

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/mammal/cala/all.html
http://www.northern.edu/natsource/MAMMALS/Coyote1.htm
http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00260/fact.html
http://www.naturepark.com/coyinfo.htm
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Canis_latrans.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote
http://www.desertusa.com/june96/du_cycot.html