Information from the:
 Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife

 
     
     
  Coyote illustration
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/coyote/index.html
Drawings from above link:Coyote tracks illustration
 
     
 

Michigan Coyote Facts

 
     
  Where can you find coyotes in Michigan ?

Coyotes are found throughout the state.  They are most abundant in the Upper and northern Lower Peninsulas.  Coyote numbers decrease in the central and southern portions of the Lower Peninsula .  Coyotes have dispersed into southern Michigan without assistance from the DNR.

This member of the dog family is extremely adaptable and survives in virtually all habit types common in Michigan .  They are most abundant in areas where adequate food, cover, and water are available.  Urban areas can also support coyotes.  The size of a coyote’s home range depends on the food and cover resources available and on the number of other coyotes in an area, but it generally averages between 8 and 12 square miles.  Mated pairs and 4-7 recently born pups occupy the home range during the spring and summer seasons in Michigan .

 

 
  How do I distinguish a coyote from other dog species?

Coyotes can be difficult to distinguish from a medium-sized German shepherd dog from a distance.  There is wide variation in the coyote’s color, but generally their upper body is yellowish gray, and the fur covering the throat and belly is white to cream color.  The coyote’s ears are pointed and stand erect, unlike the ears of domestic dogs that often droop.  When observed running, coyotes carry their bushy, black-tipped tail below the level of their back.  Wolves, which are found in Michigan ’s Upper Peninsula , are larger than coyotes and carry their tail in a horizontal position while running.  The size and weight of coyotes are commonly overestimated, because their long fur masks a bone structure that is slighter than that of most domestic dogs.

 
 

Differences between Gray Wolf and Coyote


Michigan Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Height:

30" average

Length:

4.5 feet to 6.5 feet

Weight:

50 to 100 pounds; average is 65 pounds

Present range in Michigan :
Upper Peninsula

Status:

Endangered

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Gray Wolf Paw Print


Coyote (Canis latrans)

Height:

18" maximum

Length:

4.3 feet maximum; 2.8 feet average

Weight:

25 to 45 pounds

Present range in Michigan : Statewide

Status:

Game Animal

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Coyote Paw Print


 
  When are coyotes most likely to be seen?

People are most likely to see coyotes during their breeding period, which occurs in Michigan from mid-January into March.  As fall approaches, pups begin dispersing from the den site to establish home ranges of their own.  These young dispersing animals sometimes wander into urban areas.  Coyotes are active day and night; however, peaks in activity occur at sunrise and sunset.  Coyotes generally feed at night.

 

 
  What is the life expectancy of a coyote?

People are most likely to see coyotes during their breeding period, which occurs in Michigan from mid-January into March.  As fall approaches, pups begin dispersing from the den site to establish home ranges of their own.  These young dispersing animals sometimes wander into urban areas.  Coyotes are active day and night; however, peaks in activity occur at sunrise and sunset.  Coyotes generally feed at night.

 

 
  What do coyotes eat?

Coyotes are opportunistic and will eat almost anything available.  Small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, rabbits, hares, and squirrels are preferred foods.  However, insects, fruits, berries, birds, frogs, snakes, plants, and seeds round out their diet.  In areas with high deer numbers, carrion resulting from vehicle-deer collisions, natural causes, and crippling losses is an important source of food.  In urban areas, coyotes are attracted to garbage, garden vegetables, and pet foods.  They will also prey on unattended small dogs and cats, if opportunities exist.  Some coyotes learn to kill smaller livestock, such as sheep, goats, calves, and poultry.  Larger animals are almost always consumed as carrion.

 

 
  Do coyotes present any danger to people?

Coyotes rarely attack humans.  Bites from snakes, rodents, and domestic dogs are a far greater possibility than coyote bites, according to public health authorities.  Coyotes that are fed become accustomed to people and present a human safety risk.  People should never intentionally feed or attempt to tame coyotes.  It is in the best interest of both coyotes and humans if coyotes retain their instinctive fear of people.  The following important points can help minimize potential conflicts with coyotes:

  1. Never approach or touch a coyote
  2. Never intentionally feed a coyote
  3. Eliminate all outside food sources, especially pet foods
  4. Put garbage out in the morning of pickup day
  5. Clear out wood and brush piles; they are good habitat for rats and mice and may attract coyotes
  6. Good husbandry practices, guard animals, and coyote control measures can help to protect livestock
  7. Do no allow pets to roam free when coyotes are present – Consider keeping pets indoors or accompany them outside.

 

 
  Who should I contact if I have coyote depredation problems?

The following agencies or businesses can be contacted for advice or assistance if coyote depredation becomes a problem:

United States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Animal Damage Control Businesses
County
Animal Control Units

 

 
  For additional information on coyotes, please visit our web site at www.michiga.gov/dnr, Wildlife Services web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/ws, or visit your local library.  
     
 

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