Baby Coyotes: 9 Questions and Answers

by Derrick | Last Updated: January 16, 2021

Coyotes are common animals found from Canada, throughout the United States and while not native some have ventured into parts of South America.  They have a wide range and are able to adapt to many different environments.  

People are interested in baby coyotes and through this article we hope to provide you some answers to common questions about baby coyotes.

What Is A Baby Coyote Called?

A baby coyote is called a pup, and a group of coyote pups are referred to as a litter of coyote pups.  Coyote litters can range from four to seven pups, size will vary based on availability of food, and current coyote population density.  In urban areas coyote litters are on the larger size as food is readily available.  Coyotes often work as part of a coyote pack and the young coyotes will pick up pack behavior by learning from the adult coyotes.

What Does A Baby Coyote Look Like?

Coyotes are from the Canidae family and are a species of canine.  They are part of the Canis Genus which contains wolves, domestic dogs and jackals in addition to coyotes.  From an appearance perspective coyotes pups look very similar to domestic dog puppies.  

While they do look like dogs, they are not domesticated and it isn’t recommended that humans approach coyotes or coyote pups.  This can be dangerous to both the humans and the pups.  If you do see a coyote it may be best to try and avoid it by changing direction or if the coyote is acting aggressive vacate the area and go inside a structure or car if available.

Baby Coyote Coloring

Baby coyotes can have a grayish brown to yellowish brown fur color, like adult coyotes the coloring can vary between litters and change slightly as they mature into adult coyotes.

Coloring can also change during different times of the year as coyotes fur coat sheds or bulks up for extra cold weather insulation as they get a winter coat.

What is Mange and Can Baby Coyotes Get Mange?

Mange is a disease that wild and domestic animals are susceptible to and is caused by parasitic mites.  Animals with mange can be diagnosed with tests performed at your local vet, the vet will take skin scrapings to complete the test. In established cases of mange you will often see the animal chewing at its fur, and abnormal amounts of fur coming out of the animal, with blotchy, patchy fur coverage, and irritated skin.

Baby coyotes can get mange, just like any other animal.  It is more likely to occur if the parent coyotes have mange as it will be present within the den.

How Much Do Baby Coyotes Weigh and How Big Are They?

At birth baby coyotes weigh approximately ½ pound, they continue to grow where as an adult most weigh between 25-35 pounds.

Can You Domesticate A Baby Coyote and Do They Make Good Pets?

Coyotes are wild animals and somewhat unpredictable, there are a few stories of people domesticating baby coyotes, as well as people having coy dogs (coyotes mixed with domestic dogs).  Baby coyotes look cute and fairly similar to domestic dogs, yet, I would not recommend trying to domesticate a baby coyote.

As pups coyotes look harmless and friendly, as with all animals do coyote pups will turn into adult coyotes and will not be a good long term pet, you simply cannot re-home a coyote if you get tired of it and you cannot release it back into the wild as it will lose its natural instincts on how to survive in the wild after it is domesticated.

If you do find a baby coyote that has been abandoned by the parents you should first contact animal control or if you are in the country look into your state’s environmental conservation (for example in NY it is the NY DEC).  They will advise you on the appropriate course of action.

If you do decide to try and help the coyote pup then some of the below information may be helpful.

How To Take Care of a Baby Coyote?

As we stated earlier if you find a baby coyote, you shouldn’t disturb it as it is completely possible that the coyote hasn’t been abandoned and one of the parents is in close proximity.  It isn’t recommended that humans try to tame or domesticate wild animals.  

With that said sometimes baby coyotes get lost or separated from the pack.  If you are sure the coyote is abandoned you can call the local forest ranger or animal control to get advice on what should be done and to ensure you are not violating any local laws.

If you must and it is legal to do so in your jurisdiction you can take care of the coyote pup by following some basic tactics.

What Do Baby Coyotes Eat and Can You Feed Them?

If you do find a baby coyote and decide to feed them it is important to understand how old the coyote is and at what stage in life.

For the first 3 weeks or so the coyote pup lives on the mother’s milk.  After this time they will start eating some solid food.

Coyotes eat rodents, frogs, rabbits, insects and often a deer if the coyotes can kill one.  Baby coyotes that are eating solid food will be eating much of these same items.  It is important to ensure a baby coyote has varied nutrition and that you do not try and feed them dry kibble dog food that dogs eat.  The coyote will return to the wild and some point and feeding them dog food wouldn’t be ideal for continued survival in the wild.

Are Baby Coyotes Dangerous and Do They Bite?

Any wild animal can be dangerous, so you should assume a coyote pup could be dangerous, as well as the adult coyote that is likely near where baby coyotes are.  You shouldn’t try and touch a baby coyote.  Baby coyotes like baby puppies will chew and bite.  While depending on the size of the coyote pup, the biting and chewing may be harmless; humans should avoid wild animal to human contact.

What To Do With a Baby Coyote In Your Backyard?

If you do find a baby coyote in your backyard the best thing you can do is leave it alone. The adult coyote is surely nearby.  If the coyote is lost more than likely the parent will find it or it will wander off and find the rest of the pack.

For the most part it isn’t recommended to touch or disturb the coyote pup.  Remember we have to respect wild animals and sometimes let nature work things out.  The coyote is a very intelligent animal and they generally can work things out.

In Summary

Hopefully this article has helped you better understand coyotes, they are often misunderstood animals and it can be a challenge to educate people about coyote pups.