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Coyotes


Coyotes Photo

The name "coyote" is borrowed from Mexican Spanish, ultimately derived from the Nahuatl word coyotl. Its scientific name, Canis latrans, means "barking dog."

The color of the coyote's pelt varies from grayish brown to yellowish gray on the upper parts, while the throat and belly tend to have a buff or white color. The forelegs, sides of the head, muzzle and feet are reddish brown. The back has tawn-colored underfur and long, black-tipped guard hairs that form a black dorsal stripe and a dark cross on the shoulder area. The black-tipped tail has a scent gland located on its dorsal base. Coyotes shed once a year, beginning in May with light hair loss, ending in July after heavy shedding. The ears are proportionately large in relation to the head, while the feet are relatively small in relation to the rest of the body.[5] Mountain dwelling coyotes tend to be dark furred while desert coyotes tend to be more yellowish in color.[6]

Coyotes typically grow to 75–87 centimeters (30–34 inches) in length and on average, weigh from 7–21 kilograms (15–46 pounds).[5] Northern coyotes are typically larger than southern subspecies, with the largest coyotes on record weighing 74¾ pounds (33.7 kg) and measuring over five feet in total length.[9] The coyote's dental formula is I 3/3, C 1/1, Pm 4/4, M usually 2/2, occasionally 3/3, 3/2, or 2/3 X 2 = 40, 42, or 44.[10] Normal spacing between the upper canine teeth is 1? to 1? inches (29 to 35 mm) and 1 to 1¼ inches (25 to 32 mm) between the lower canine teeth.[11] Certain experts have noted that the shape of a domestic dog's brain case is closer to the coyote than the wolf.[8]

The upper frequency limit of hearing for coyotes is 80 kHz, compared to the 60 kHz of domestic dogs.[12] Unlike wolves, but similarly to domestic dogs, coyotes have sweat glands on their paw pads. This trait is however absent in the large New England coyotes which are thought to have some wolf ancestry.[13]

During pursuit, a coyote may reach speeds up to 43 mph (69 km/h),[14] and can jump over 4 meters (13? feet).[5]