Header that says "Coyotes" with an image of a coyote

Coyotes are a type of canine. There are two types of coyote in the United States: the eastern coyote and the western coyote. Pennsylvania is home to the eastern coyote, and it is the largest canine in the state. Eastern coyotes are thought to be a cross between western coyotes and gray wolves. It is difficult to trace the history of eastern coyotes in Pennsylvania as they were confused with wolves for many years. Coyotes are primarily nocturnal but they have been known to hunt in the morning.

AppearanceEastern coyotes have erect ears, bottlebrush tails, and yellow or brown eyes. Their fur can be any color from light blond to reddish blond to gray, dark brown, and black.
LengthAnywhere from 48 to 60 inches
WeightMales – 45 to 55 pounds
Females – 35 to 40 pounds
HabitatCoyotes like to live in heavily forested areas with lots of brush cover. They will also live along the edges of forests near agricultural areas.
FoodBirds, deer, groundhogs, mice, rabbits, voles, fruits, and plants
Location in PennsylvaniaStatewide, more common in northern PA
Extra factsCoyotes are monogamous and will stay with the same partner for several years.
They communicate with yips, barks, and howls.
Coyotes hunt by themselves, with one or two other coyotes, or in a pack.
They have strong sense of smell and hearing.


Coyotes can attack livestock (calves, sheep, goats, poultry), pets and occasionally people if the animal is sick or cornered. Coyotes can carry and transmit rabies, distemper, and mange.


Coyotes can be trapped with foothold traps and snares, and shot with firearms. Keep pets close to their owners or homes. Reinforce fences and gates for livestock or add a livestock guardian like a dog or donkey to protect the herd or flock.

For more information about coyotes, check out the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s wildlife notes.

Special note concerning rabies vector (carrier) species. Rabies is a contagious, potentially fatal disease transmitted from one infected animal to another through a bite or scratch. Humans are susceptible to rabies and prompt medical attention is necessary. With this in mind, all rabies vector species trapped or removed by wildlife professionals must be humanely dispatched rather than relocated. Pennsylvania rabies vector species include skunks, raccoons, foxes, groundhogs, bats and coyotes.