With a beautiful coat of gray and rust-red, coyotes weigh an average of 30 pounds and are four to five feet long from nose to tail. Coyotes are the largest member of the dog family found in Southern California. They are common throughout North America and expanding their range partly in response to human changes to the environment. The breeding season starts in January and ends in March. During this time, adult coyotes are getting ready to find a mate, dig dens and have a litter of pups.
Known as “song dogs”, we can often hear the coyote’s nighttime yips and howls. Coyotes howl to communicate to other pack members – to coordinate hunts, establish territories and simply tell other coyotes where they are. All too often they have been given a ‘bad rap’, especially during the hay days of cattle ranching in the Wild West. Today, it is most often a pleasure to see coyotes as they remind us of North America’s unique wildlife.
Coyotes hunt a variety of wildlife including brush rabbits (cottontails), ground squirrels, mice, bird eggs, and snakes. Coyotes also eat local nuts, seeds and fruit including California coffeeberry, manzanita, loquat, date palm and avocados.