Several predators prey on coyotes. Some of these animals are on top of the food chain in their habitat, while some share the same order as coyotes. Continue with this guide to find out the species that kill and eat coyotes.
What Animal Eats Coyotes?
Many huge predators eat coyotes as primary and secondary food. Alligators, foxes, cougars, eagles, and bears eat coyotes when they can subdue them. The fact that coyotes have natural predators means they are not apex predators.
Coyotes Major Predators
While there are a handful of coyote predators in the forest, desert, and mountains, nine have been confirmed to kill coyotes and eat them frequently. Here are the nine major predators of coyotes.
Cougars, also known as mountain lions and puma, are the number one coyotes predator. Mountain lions often ambush coyotes, kill them, and eat them quite actively.
American Black Bears
American black bears are omnivores, with 80% of their diet comprising plants and fruits. The other 20% of their food is meat, and coyotes significantly contribute to the percentage. Black bears inhabit forests and highlands, making coyotes readily available prey to hunt.
Wolves are coyotes’ cousins but are bigger, more aggressive, and highly predatory. While wolves do not prefer coyotes as primary food, they occasionally hunt them in packs.
American Alligators are one of the major apex predators in North America and do ambush coyotes occasionally. While they cannot chase down coyotes, they often lie still at river banks, waiting for them to stray too close enough for an ambush.
They bite the head or neck of their prey, drag them into the water and consistently roll to severe the coyote nerves and joints.
Golden Eagles often target coyotes’ populations and look for the right moment to catch vulnerable young members. These eagles have perfected the act of swooping growing coyotes from a pack and using their powerful talons and beaks to inflict fatal injuries. Golden eagles sometimes scare adult coyotes off their prey in the wild.
Grizzly bears are known to kill and eat coyotes when both animals have a confrontation over carcasses or when the bear walks up on a coyote trying to kill its young. Grizzly bears seldom hunt coyotes for food but can ambush a stray and kill it.
Wolverines are small but much stronger than they look. A single wolverine can kill a growing coyote, while several wolverines can take down an adult coyote. Wolverines are extremely strong and resilient.
Coyotes cannibalize themselves. A different pack can kill a stray coyote from another pack when desired food is very scarce. Coyotes also cannibalize weak and injured members instead of caring for them.
Humans typically predate most wildlife and sometimes kill coyotes to control their population. Some people also kill coyotes for food and their fur. There are not many restrictions on killing coyotes as they have a dominant growing population that is currently becoming concerning.
Also read: Are Coyotes Dangerous?
What Eats Coyotes In The Forest?
Mountain lions are the major predators of coyotes in the forest, actively hunting them irrespective of their age and size. Mountain lions or cougars usually lay ambush and pounce on coyotes. Gray Wolves and Bears immediately follow the mountain lion as major coyotes’ predators in the forest.
Desert Coyote Predators
In the desert, coyotes also suffer as prey to other animals. While most of these animals cannot kill a full-grown coyote, they often target injured and younger members of the pack. Coyotes predators’ in the desert include:
- Golden Eagles
- Wild Dogs
Do Coyotes Eat Coyotes?
Coyotes cannibalize themselves. With most coyotes living in packs, a particular group could successfully isolate a stray coyote and feast on it when there are scarce food sources.
Coyotes eating themselves is not unusual, and the trend will likely increase as human expansion into their territory continues to dwindle their food options.
Also read: Are Coyotes Friendly?
Are Coyotes Apex Predators?
Coyotes are not Apex predators, as they share habitats with bigger predators that actively and passively hunt them. Mountain lions, bears, Wolves, and American alligators are natural predators of coyotes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Eagles Eat Coyotes?
Golden eagles are very aggressive against smaller coyotes. They target young coyotes and swoop them from the pack at lightning speed before inflicting fatal injuries with their strong beak and powerful talons mid-flight.
Do Snakes Eat Coyotes?
Snakes have never been documented to eat coyotes. On the other hand, coyotes have successfully killed snakes and eaten them. Coyotes’ speed and precise attack techniques make it difficult for snakes to inflict any real injury.
Are Coyote Omnivores?
Coyotes eat meat and fruits, making them omnivores. Studies have shown that coyotes typically prefer meats and even scavenge for them. They will settle for fruits and plants if they cannot get easy meat.
Do Gray Wolves Eat Coyotes?
Gray wolves eat coyotes if they cannot get their preferred prey. It is rare to see a grey wolf or any wolf specie actively hunt a coyote for food. Coyotes are not their favorite diet and are only considered a less preferable alternative during scarcity.
Do Grizzly Bears Eat Coyotes?
Grizzly bears eat coyotes whenever they kill them. While Grizzly bears do not actively hunt coyotes, they will kill coyotes over claim to animal carcasses or when the bear is protecting its young. A bear only needs one heavy paw strike or bite to a coyote’s head to kill it.
Do Bears Eat Coyotes?
The Black American Bears and the Grizzly Bears are the major bear species that sometimes kill and eat coyotes as food. These bears often share habitats with coyotes in North America and often come out on top whenever there is a clash with coyotes.
Do Mountain Lions Eat Coyotes?
Mountain lions, also known as cougars, trap coyotes and kill them for food. Mountain lions are one of coyotes’ biggest predators in North America. They actively hunt coyotes by trailing and ambushing them.
Do People Eat Coyotes?
While there is a high awareness of the need to let coyotes’ populations flourish, humans still hunt them for meat. Other reasons we kill coyotes include population control and fur hunting. There are no rigid laws that ban the killing of coyotes.