- Members of the Canidae family, coyotes resemble several domestic dog breeds in appearance.
- They are native North American and Central American animals.
- Domestic dogs and coyotes will come into contact because coyotes can sometimes reside near human populations.
This is a typical example of things in nature not always being what they first appear to be. On the face of it, this coyote is mad because a domestic dog, off-leash, has invaded an area where it was hanging out. But, if you scroll down to watch the full video of this encounter, you realize that there is something else going on with the coyote.
Coyotes and Their Lives
Coyotes are members of the Canidae family and some of them look remarkably like domestic dog breeds. Out of the corner of your eye, it would be easy to mistake one for a German Shepherd. They are native mammals of Central America and North America and are brown, grey, or tan in color or various combinations of these three colors. They are sometimes called prairie wolves because of their similarity to wolves with their long coat and pointed snout.
They have adapted to live alongside human populations and feature in North American folklore. Coyotes are intelligent and resourceful creatures who live in packs but have very fluid social arrangements.
When a Coyote Meets a Dog…
As coyotes can live close to human settlements, domestic dogs and coyotes are inevitably going to meet from time to time. The winner of this encounter will depend on the age and breed of the domestic dog and the age and health status of the coyote. In general, you would expect a fit coyote to have the upper hand.
The dog in this clip has trotted over to check out the coyote and the wild animal has demonstrated aggression by arching its back, growling, and tucking its tail between its legs. This is not a happy coyote. The dog actually gets the message pretty quickly and backs off. But as the coyote moves away, we can see that it has a severe injury (possibly a fracture) to its front leg. This would explain why it was out in the field and why it is feeling so vulnerable.
Coyotes would generally shy away from areas where humans are walking around. This one is clearly behaving out of character because of the injury.
Dog-coyote interactions are not always a disaster! There are even reports that these similar animals have been seen participating in social play! The only sure way to keep your dog safe from a coyote is to walk them on a leash.
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