Coyote vs. Wolf: What is the difference between Coyote and Wolf?

Coyote vs. Wolf: In This Article We Will Discover The Key Differences Between Coyote and Wolf, Their Similarities, Pros and Cons, And Answer Some Of The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Coyote vs. Wolf: Key Differences, Pros & Cons, FAQ

Coyote vs. Wolf: since both a wolf and a coyote resemble a dog physically, it is easy to confuse the two animals. The biggest difference lies in the wolf vs coyote size with the latter being smaller than the former. Wolves usually form packs when they hunt while coyotes prefer to travel and hunt alone.

Looking at the coyote vs wolf definitions for clarity

What is a Wolf?

A wolf is the largest member of the dog family who lives and hunts in packs and is active at night.

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What is a Coyote?

A coyote is a smaller member of the dog family who lives with family groups but hunts alone without forming packs.

Listing the similarities between a wolf and a coyote for further understanding

  • Both wolf and coyote belong to the dog family i.e. genus Canis.
  • They are primarily carnivorous hunters.
  • They are a threat to livestock.
  • Both animals have similar coat colors.
  • Both these species can be found in North America.

Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a coyote and a wolf to differentiate better

Strengths of Coyote

  • Coyotes don’t always need to be in pairs to hunt and survive. 
  • They are more comfortable around humans.

Weaknesses of Coyote

  • They aren’t great at hunting large animals as they are quite shy. 
  • They do not form packs while hunting which plays against them.

Strengths of Wolf

  • A wolf is adept at hunting large animals like deers.
  • They are stronger given their larger bodies and aggressive natures.
  • Forming a strong pack for hunting helps the wolves take over their prey easily.
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Weaknesses of Wolf

  • A wolf seldom travels or hunts alone. 
  • They aren’t very comfortable around humans.

What is more dangerous: a coyote or wolf? 

A wolf is more dangerous than a coyote because of its bigger size and more aggressive nature. Talking about them being a danger to humans, coyotes happen to live in the areas inhabited by humans. They are, therefore, more accustomed to humans and do not see them as a danger anymore. They are less likely to attack a human in panic making them less dangerous to human existence.

Is a coyote smaller than a wolf?

Yes, a coyote is smaller than a wolf with a nose to tail length of 4.5 feet maximum. A wolf, on the other hand, measures anywhere between 4.5-6.5 feet from nose to tail. 

How dangerous is a coyote?

A coyote is extremely dangerous and can kill both humans and pets easily. Avoiding a conflict with a coyote is the best thing to do when you encounter one.

Is Coyote meat good to eat?

There are mixed responses from the people who have tried coyote meat. The ones who love eating dogs have found coyote meat tastier. Since coyotes eat more live mice, seeds, and berries, their meat is tender and rich.

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Do coyotes mate with dogs?

Yes, coyotes can mate with dogs, and their offspring are called coydogs. It is, however, rare since coyotes are seasonal breeders while dogs are not.

Is there a coyote wolf hybrid?

Yes, a coyote wolf mix or hybrid is called a coywolf. It displays mixed characteristics from both species with its size being slightly larger than a coyote but shorter than a wolf.

Is red wolf and coyote the same?

No. Considering red wolf vs coyote, the former is an intermediate between the gray wolf and coyote morphologically. A red wolf is generally larger and heavier than a coyote.

Is a fox a wolf or a coyote?

When considering coyote vs wolf vs fox, a fox is neither a wolf nor a coyote. Foxes are separate species belonging to the same biological family Canidae as of the other two animal species. They are the smallest of the three and weigh 8 to 20 pounds. Foxes are solitary whereas wolves and coyotes are social animals with family groups.

Can a coyote kill a dog?

Yes, a coyote can kill a dog, particularly a small one. They are notorious for attacking and killing small pet dogs.

Can wolves attack humans?

Yes, wolves can attack humans for a variety of reasons. Such an attack can be provoked or unprovoked. The recorded number of unprovoked attacks are, however, very few.

Do coyotes sound like wolves?

No, coyotes do not sound like wolves. Here are a few differences between their voices:

BasisWolf’s soundCoyote’s sound
PitchIt generally has a lower pitch.It generally has a higher pitch.
BarksIt includes barks and growls.It includes barks, yips, and yaps.
HowlingIt involves long and drawn-out howling.It involves short and rising howling.

What is the difference between coyote and wolf?

HabitatCoyotes are generally found in the Northern US to which they are native as well. Wolves mainly inhabit the Northern US and Eurasia. 
Facial featuresA coyote has a pointed and narrow face with a small nose. A wolf has a broad face with a large nose.
EarsA Coyote has tall and pointed ears. A wolf has short and rounded ears. 
SizeCoyote is comparatively small standing at just 21-24 inches. Wolf can stand anywhere between 26-32 inches tall at the shoulder.
WeightCoyotes’ weight can fall between 15-50 pounds. Wolves’ weight has a range of 70-150 pounds.
LengthA Coyote’s nose to tail length can be a maximum of 4.5 feet only. The length of a wolf from nose to tail can be anywhere between 4.5-6.5 feet.
Hunting TechniqueCoyotes prefer hunting in small pairs and even alone. Wolves hunt in packs.

Comparison Chart

Coyote vs. Wolf: In This Article We Will Discover The Key Differences Between Coyote and Wolf, Their Similarities, Pros and Cons, And Answer Some Of The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Comparison Video

Coyote & Wolf – The Differences

Who would win: a wolf or a coyote?

In a fight between a wolf and a coyote, the chances of the wolf winning the fight are higher. It is because a coyote compared to a wolf is smaller and lighter. The larger size and aggressive nature generally play in the favor of the wolf making it win the fight between the two.

Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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