MagazineFebruary 2011Coyote: By the Numbers

Coyote: By the Numbers

1984: First sustainable populations of coyote recognized in the Southeast.

Before 1800, coyotes were typically found only in the Great Plains, but the widespread eradication of wolves allowed the coyotes’ range to spread.

Today, coyote can be found in all 50 states.

It’s hard for wildlife biologists to track coyote populations, but Virginia wildlife officials estimate the state’s population is between 50,000 and 75,000.

Eastern coyotes typically weigh 35-45 pounds and can reach up to 60 pounds, far bigger than their western cousins, possibly because they breed with wolves on their slow expansion East.

The coyote is an omnivore, and coyote-human encounters are rare. Most hunting and eradication measures have proven futile. A coyote’s typical litter size is 5 to 7 pups, but if coyote populations dwindle, the predator responds by increasing its litter to 12 to 14 pups.

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