Coyotes, known as the Song Dogs of North America, are the sole canid predator endemic to North America. They can be found as far north as Canada and Alaska, and as far south as Central America, but are most prevalent in the Great Plains, where they began their outward migration 100 years ago. Since the 1950s, they’ve managed to expand their territory by 40 percent, and can now be found anywhere from remote plains to bustling urban parks.
As many experts agree, the coyote is an incredibly adaptive animal. This evolutionary advantage has kept the species not only surviving, but thriving in response to human expansion. This is one of the reasons the coyote has prevailed where other species have faltered, and why their sightings have only increased along with urbanization. Coyotes are flexible creatures on many counts: their time of activity, their preferred habitat, even their diet. When they aren’t eating rabbits or small rodents, coyotes can be seen eating small fruits like berries and apples, and even vegetables like carrots to maintain their daily caloric needs.
Coyotes also have flexible temperaments. They are aggressive enough to hunt small prey, but skittish enough to avoid deadly human contact. Indeed, coyotes are relatively harmless to humans (but they will definitely eat a small pet!). A 2021 study from Madison, Wisconsin discovered that most human-coyote interactions were benign, lacking any aggression by the coyotes whatsoever. When participants in the study were asked to pick a number from zero (calm) to five (aggressive), 90 percent chose zero.