Scientific Name: Canis latrans
When is the best time to view coyotes in Monterey County and where is the best viewing?
Coyotes can be active day or night but the most likely time of day to view coyotes is at dawn or dusk. Coyotes are adaptable and can be found in most habitats in California from arid dessert to coastal woodlands.
Coyotes are located throughout Monterey County. They tend to form dens in forested hills and leave their dens in order to hunt prey in meadows, valleys and waterfronts. Coyotes may even travel into neighborhoods in search of food from unsecured trashcans.
Coyotes are native to California. At night, Californians can tell if they live in coyote territory when they hear the coyote’s high-pitched howl, which can be heard up to three miles away. Their haunting nightly calls have earned them several names including their scientific name which translates to “barking dog” as well as “song dog” as described by American Indians.
As a member of the dog family, coyotes share similar characteristics to domestic dogs. However, coyotes can smell, see and hear better than dogs. Coyotes are also louder, faster, more territorial and adaptable, and have a wider range in appetite. They will eat just about anything. According to researchers at University of California Santa Cruz, coyote scat found near Monterey Bay indicates coyotes now include scavenged fish and sea mammal carcasses in their diet.
Coyotes establish strong family groups, called packs. Each pack is extremely territorial of their den and especially the pups. A female coyote will dig a den, up to 15 feet in length and two feet wide. Each pack typically maintains several dens at once so they can move to another when feeling threatened.
Coyote Fun Facts
- Coyotes are very good swimmers
- A group of coyotes is called a pack
- Can run up to 40 mph
- Help control rodent populations
- Estimated that 30-50% of all adult coyotes die annually due to human related causes
Habitat: mixed and coniferous forests, meadows, agricultural lands and suburbs
Length: 3.5–4.5 feet; tail is 12-16 inches
Weight: 18–44 pounds
Diet: Coyotes will eat almost anything; rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, deer, insects, snakes, fruit, and grass
Lifespan: Average four years in the wild, many pups die in their first year
Reproduction: Coyotes mate between February and April. Gestation is only two months and females give birth to litters of 1 to 12 pups.