A member of the dog family, coyotes (Canis latrans) are among the most commonly spotted wildlife in Yellowstone. Approximately sixty-five packs wander across the park’s landscape, housing a total of nearly 450 coyotes within their ranks. Although coyotes are often spotted in these packs, the animals are also well-suited to solitary travel.

Standing less than two feet tall with grayish-tan fur and averaging thirty to forty pounds, Yellowstone’s coyotes are among America’s largest with a wide selection of prey at their disposal. Generally feasting on small mammals, coyotes are capable of killing larger prey with the combined effort of an entire pack. Their long, pointed noses and perky ears distinguish them from their gray wolf relative, and they enjoy relatively short lives. Most coyotes live an average of only six years; however, longer lives can be expected if the coyote sticks with a pack and has no unfortunate encounters with its primary predator, the mountain lion.

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