Coyotes are common animals found in Canada and throughout the United States, and while not native, some have ventured into parts of South America. They have a wide range and can adapt to many different environments.
People are interested in baby coyotes, and through this article, we hope to provide you with some answers to common questions about baby coyotes.
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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, coyote pups look very similar to domestic dog puppies. They have lean-looking bodies, with brown/gray fur, and often can be confirmed when you see a very bushy tail.
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 aggressively, vacate the area and go inside a structure or car if available.
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.
Just like any other animal, baby coyotes can get mange. 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 pounds, 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, coyote pups will turn into adult coyotes and will not be good long-term pets. 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 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.
What To Do If You Find A Baby Coyote?
Here are some tips for what to do if you find a baby coyote:
- Leave the coyote alone. Coyote pups are often left alone while the parents are out hunting. The parents will usually return shortly. Trying to catch or handle the pup could result in the parents abandoning it or provoke an aggressive response from the parents.
- Do not feed or offer water to the coyote pup. This can habituate it to humans, which can be dangerous as it ages.
- Keep pets indoors and supervise small children. Though coyote pups are typically not aggressive, it’s best not to allow interaction with pets or children.
- Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or animal control office if the pup seems sick, injured, or orphaned. Licensed rehabilitators are trained to care for wild coyotes and can check if the pup needs help.
- Make noise and scare it away if it approaches too close to your home or pets. This reinforces a natural fear of humans. Use loud noises, waving arms, or water sprayed from a hose.
- Block access to den sites or food sources near your home to encourage the coyotes to move. This promotes keeping a safe distance from humans.
- Monitor the situation to make sure the parents return and move the pup. If they don’t, contact wildlife officials for assistance.
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 local laws.
If you must, and it is legal 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 essential 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 deer if the coyotes can kill one. Baby coyotes that are eating solid food will be eating many of these same items. It is crucial 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 at some point 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 the baby is. 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, touching or disturbing the coyote pup isn’t recommended. Remember we must respect wild animals and sometimes let nature work things out. The coyote is a very intelligent animal, and they generally can work things out.
Baby Coyote Play Habits
Baby coyotes, also known as pups, exhibit a range of playful behaviors that are not only endearing to observe but also crucial for their development. These play habits serve as a means for the pups to learn essential survival skills, socialize with their siblings, and understand their place within the pack hierarchy.
From an early age, coyote pups engage in play-fighting, which often involves mock battles, wrestling, and chasing each other. These playful tussles help them develop their hunting skills, agility, and strength. They learn how to stalk, pounce, and bite, which are crucial for hunting when they become adults.
In addition to play-fighting, coyote pups also engage in games that involve objects such as sticks, bones, or even their tails. They can often be seen tossing these items into the air and catching them, or hiding them and then finding them again. This type of play helps to hone their problem-solving skills and enhances their ability to navigate their environment.
It’s important to note that while these behaviors may seem similar to those of domesticated dogs, coyotes are wild animals. Their play habits, while crucial for their development, are part of their preparation for a life in the wild. Observing these behaviors from a distance can provide a fascinating insight into the lives of these intelligent and adaptable creatures.
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.