Canis latrans, more commonly known as coyotes, are extremely flexible and can found throughout North America (1). Many of their characteristics like appearance, diet, and reproductive behavior change depending on the habitat (1)(2). However, C. latrans found in California have very similar characteristics (3)(4). C. latrans in California are around the same size as an adult German shepherd, roughly 8-20 kg and 1-1.3 m long (3). They have gray, sandy or brown fur and pointed ears (3). In California, mating occurs between January to February, with pups born two months after (3)(4). Average litter size is 6.6 pups (4). Both parents raise the pups, regurgitating food to feed the pups, until the pups disperse in midwinter (2)(3). C. latrans are opportunistic predators primarily feed on small mammals like ground squirrels and jackrabbits (3).
(1) Bekoff, M. (1977). Canis latrans. Mammalian Species, (79), 1-9.
(2) Coyote (Canis latrans). University of Minnesota Duluth (2017, November 03).
(3) Jameson, E. W., Jr., & Peeters, H. J. (2004). Mammals of California (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
(4) Sacks, B. N. (2005). Reproduction And Body Condition Of California Coyotes (Canis Latrans). Journal of Mammalogy, 86(5), 1036-1041.
(Photograph - Coyote & Coyote Pups) Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences