Smart and persistent competitor

Coyotes are resourceful and intelligent predators. Though closely related, coyotes and wolves are highly competitive. Because coyotes are so much smaller than wolves, a single coyote is not a threat to a healthy adult wolf — but they will kill unprotected wolf pups. When they have the advantage of numbers, coyotes may harass wolves.

Wolves will kill coyotes whenever they can to eliminate competition. In fact, with the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, coyote numbers decreased by half. Coyotes soon learned to start denning closer to roads (which wolves avoid) and have become less vocal in the park (probably to reduce detection by wolves).

Coyotes are cautious of much larger wolves but they benefit from wolf kills.

Quick Facts

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Coyotes are one of the three canids (wolves, coyotes, fox) found in Yellowstone National Park. They are sometimes called "songdogs" because of their varied vocalizations. In Yellowstone wolf country, coyotes most often live as pairs or in small family groups.

  • SIZE: 10-15 kg (25–35 lbs)

  • TOP SPEED: 69 kph (43 mph)

  • DIET: Small prey like mice, rabbits, newborn ungulates, insects, and frogs. Working together, coyotes can bring down bigger meals. They are also happy scavenging. Unlike wolves, coyotes also eat plants and berries.

Coyotes in WolfQuest

Coyotes are abundant throughout all the maps and habitats in the game.

Coyotes are competition. You’ll often see a few coyotes running around and grabbing a bite at carcasses. Coyotes may harass competitors (like you) at carcasses if they have the advantage of numbers.

Coyotes are a persistent threat to wolf pups if they are left unguarded. They don't eat them. They just don't want them to grow up and become competition.

As a wolf, you would likely chase away coyote competitors on sight. Coyotes are faster than wolves so they are not easy to kill.

In real life, wolves rarely eat coyotes or other carnivores in (they probably don’t taste good) so coyotes are not edible in the game.

Coyote chorus in Slough Creek

Coyotes often call at dawn and dusk.

audio credit: Dr. Jacob Job, Sound and Light Ecology Team, Colorado State University/Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service