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COYOTE } Canis latrans

RANGE: Throughout the continental United States and Central America, as well as southern and eastern Canada

STATUS: Listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, dubbed Secure globally by NatureServe

THREATS: Predator control, habitat loss, and predation by larger carnivores

Known in Native American mythology as a trickster, a culture hero, or both, in real life the coyote is a shy, relatively small canine more likely to be seen than heard. The coyote’s high-pitched howls, yelps, yips, and barks are most common at dusk or at night, especially during the spring mating season and in the fall, when pups leave their home turf to establish new territories. Thought to have once been diurnal, coyotes probably developed their nocturnal hunting habits due to human encroachment paired with their reclusive nature. But while coyotes are shy, they’ve proven themselves extraordinarily resourceful and adaptable, capable of changing their breeding habits, diet, and social dynamics to survive in many different habitats. They’re also quite physically accomplished, able to run at almost 40 miles per hour and climb over eight-foot-high fences.

Photo © Robin Silver