U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

October 2004


Published in Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals, and dogs, ed. C. Sillero-Zubiri, M. Hoffman, and D.W. Macdonald. IUCN World Conservation Union/SSC Canid Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2004.


Coyotes appear slender with “a long, narrow, pointed nose; small rounded nose pads; large pointed ears; slender legs; small feet; and a bushy tail...” (Young and Jackson 1951). Size varies geographically (Young and Jackson 1951) (Table 4.1.1), although adult males are heavier and larger than adult females. They range in color from pure grey to rufous; melanistic coyotes are rare (Young and Jackson 1951). Fur texture and color varies geographically: northern subspecies have long coarse hair, coyotes in the desert tend to be fulvous in color, while coyotes at higher latitudes are darker and more grey (Young and Jackson 1951). The belly and throat are paler than the rest of the body with a saddle of darker hair over the shoulders. The tip of the tail is usually black. Hairs are about 50–90mm long; mane hairs tend to be 80–110mm long.