The Coyote is one of 8 species of the genus Canis.

Four of these are jackals of Europe, Africa & Asia. Other members of the genus include the Gray Wolf (C. lupus), the Red Wolf (C. rufus) and all the breeds of the domestic dog (C. familiaris).

The Coyote

The coyote, or "little wolf" as the Native Americans call it, is a member of the dog family. It is the topic of many Native American folklore tales. Its name comes from the Aztec word "coyotl." Its scientific name is "canis latrans" which means "barking dog."

The coyote, or "little wolf" as the Native Americans call it, is a member of the dog family

The coyote, usually associated with the open lands of the west, is now found throughout the United States. Not native to Ohio, its presence here shows the animal's ability to adapt to new environments. Coyotes' good sense of smell, hearing and vision, along with being sly, enable them to even live in some urban areas. For example, a pair was found in New York City in the Spring of 1995. Presently coyotes can be found in all of the 88 counties of Ohio.

The coyote has the appearance of a medium-sized dog or a small German Shepherd. Coyotes are about one and a half to two feet tall and between forty-one and fifty-three inches long. Weight ranges from twenty to fifty pounds. They have a bushy tail that is tipped with black. Most are grey, but some show rust or brown coloration. Coyote tracks are more elongated than dog tracks.

This nocturnal animal is most active at night, but if not threatened by man they will hunt during the day. The coyote is omnivorous. They will eat fruits, grasses, and vegetables along with small mammals. The coyote has a bad reputation for killing sheep and other livestock, but studies show that livestock accounts for only 14 percent of the coyotes' diet.