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What is the Commonality Between a Coyote and Wolf?

Image Source: Jim Cumming / Shutterstock

Both coyotes and wolves possess unique qualities. Wolves can be either apex predators or exist harmoniously within communities and ecosystems. On the contrary, coyotes are diminutive canids that primarily seek small prey and are generally considered harmless to society.

In certain regions, there have been observations of wolves attacking small coyotes. Despite their varying physical attributes, these two species are closely associated, sharing resemblances in their hunting techniques, dietary preferences, and cognitive abilities.

North America is the habitat of four kinds of wolf-like canids: gray wolves, red wolves, domestic dogs, and coyotes. Instances of interbreeding are common among these canids.

The divergence in mitochondrial DNA between these species is approximately 0.2%. Numerous experts in mammalogy suggest that dogs are descendants of a lineage of gray wolves. From nearly 2 million years ago, coyotes and gray wolves come from a shared ancestry, showcasing a mitochondrial DNA difference of roughly 4 percent.

Research indicates that red wolves are the hybrid progeny of gray wolves and coyotes.

All canids are acknowledged as intelligent creatures, adept at critical thinking and skilled hunting. Coyotes exhibit their cleverness by adapting to survive in human-populated areas and constructing intricate social structures.

coyotes are known to be versatile and occasionally prefer solitude in their lifetime.

Both coyotes and wolves are predominantly meat-eaters, although they also scavenge for carcasses. Coyotes regularly consume fruits and berries, in addition to their carnivorous diet, whereas wolves are primarily carnivores but may also indulge in fruits and berries. Wolves target larger prey like ungulates, whereas coyotes focus on smaller creatures like birds, rodents, and rabbits. In regions with limited wolf populations, coyotes might even hunt larger animals such as deer.

Gray wolves have the ability to journey over 600 miles in their lifespan. Canids generally have a predisposition to disperse over vast distances and often exhaust their quarry while chasing them.


Farmers, ranchers, and frontiersmen commonly perceive both wolves and coyotes as nuisances. Throughout history, humans have eliminated wolves from many parts of their habitats, whereas coyotes have expanded their territories. Initially confined to the western parts of the U.S., coyotes are now prevalent in almost every state of the U.S. In 1985, a pair of coyotes were even sighted living in Central Park, New York.

Image Source: Jim Cumming / Shutterstock.

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