Meet the Coywolf – a wolf coyote hybrid

What do you get when you cross a coyote with a wolf? A coywolf! Part wolf, part coyote, many do not even believe this creature exists, however these hybrid predators do exist! Researchers believe they could be found in the wild around 1919 with the successful mating of a wolf and coyote, although dog DNA has also been found in their makeup.  Many scientists believe this pairing to be rare due to the fact that wolves tend to kill coyotes instead of mate with them.

What does the coywolf look like and how big is a coywolf?

Those most familar with the coywolf will say that they have the head of a coyote and the fangs of a wolf!  For the rest of us, and to the casual observer, the coywolf could  easily be mistaken for the wolf…they look very similar in coloring and body shape. There are however some differences that the more patient observer will notice.  For example, compared to a coyote, the coywolf will have a longer body and longer legs.  They will also have a bushier tail and smaller ears than their coyote cousins.

western coywolf

Western Coywolf By L. David Mech, Bruce W. Christensen, Cheryl S. Asa , Margaret Callahan, Julie K. Young [CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0) or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

There is also a difference in size – the coywolf is bigger than a normal coyote – starting from when it is born and continuing into adulthood. It is however also smaller than a normal wolf!

Here are the coywolf’s stats:

  • Weight:  on average, the coywolf is 32 – 40 pounds
  • Overall Size:  4 to 5 feet long from nose to the tip of the tail.
  • Color:  Color can vary from dark tan/black to blond/red.
  • Lifespan: They live on average 3 – 5 years.

What does the coywolf sound like?

Coywolf howls are an interesting combination of wolf and coyote vocalizations. The howl starts out sounding deep and aggressive like a gray wolf, then over the course of the howl, takes on a higher pitch like that of the coyote, ending in a coyote-type yipping.

What does the coywolf eat?

The coywolf’s diet is basically whatever it can find in its habitat.  You will find the coywolf loves to eat rabbits, squirrels, rodents, moose, white-tailed deer, and fruits and berries.  If the coywolf lives near an urban area, it has even been known to eat small pets!

Where does the coywolf live?

Coywolves can be found all along the Eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States, including southern Ontario, Quebec, Boston, New Hampshire, and New York. They like to live near ravines and stream banks and in natural green areas.  Like wolves, coywolves keep a number of dens for shelter especially in winter and in summer when their pups are born.  Unlike wolves, however they are more comfortable living in closer proximity to humans, so you are more likely to see coywolves in urban settings then you are wolves.

Is the eastern coyote the same thing as a coywolf?

Actually, yes the eastern coyote is a coywolf.  The name “eastern coyote” is derived from the fact that it is a hybrid of the eastern wolf and the western coyote – making the eastern coyote a coywolf!  It is believed that the mating of the eastern wolf and western coyote was successful because not only are the genetic makeup of these two species very similar, but also because the eastern wolf population became very small, resulting in their coyote cousins being more readily seen as possible mates.

 

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