What Eats Coyotes: The Full List of Coyote Predators


Coyotes are wily, intelligent, and versatile animals belonging to the Canidae family. Wolves, dogs, and jackals are related cousins. The coyote resembles foxes and dogs as well. They do not have many predators but are hunted by some. Here’s what eats coyotes.

We’ll start with a quick list of coyote predators, then we’ll get into more details…

Coyote predators include golden eagles, bald eagles, vultures, mountain lions, bears, American alligators, and wolves. They also fall prey to human hunting, as well as natural diseases found in the wild. There are also animals that feed as scavengers on dead coyotes.

Much like foxes, coyotes have few predators, which is the main reason why their population is thriving.

Ranger Planet
Ranger Planet

Their range is extending, which is why they are now located throughout the United States and Canada.

According to the IUCN, Red List, coyotes are found everywhere except the polar regions. You can find out some amazing facts about coyotes here.

We have compiled the list of all the main predators that hunt coyotes. So let’s get into the coyote predators in detail.

What eats coyotes – Birds that eat coyotes

Surprisingly there are birds that can handle targeting and killing a coyote.

These birds are considered natural apex predators. However, there are more birds that will either eat dead coyotes or are opportunistic predators.

Coyote pups that are naturally smaller can be a particularly easy target for a wider array of birds of prey, including some smaller birds such as the bald eagle.

Golden eagles will hunt coyote

The golden eagle is an opportunistic and apex predator and is America’s largest bird of prey.

They prey on a wide variety of animals, from large mammals to small rodents. The golden eagle will also kill and eat coyotes.

Given the size of coyotes, this probably gives you some idea of how large the golden eagle is, with a wingspan of some 5.9 – 7.7 ft.

With highly refined hunting skills, the golden eagle will patrol the land around their large habitat areas, which can encompass mountains, hills, and even desert areas.

They can lock their eyes on a target from miles away, and keep track of them. Finally swooping in to attack when the time is right. They will kill and eat a coyote. Coyote pups can be especially easy prey.

Golden eagles are not against the idea of scavenging either, and will also feed on the carcass of coyotes and dine on freshly killed coyote pups.

what eats coyotes - image showing the head of a golden eagle
golden eagle

Bald eagles eat Coyotes

The bald eagle, similar to the golden eagle, is a large enough bird of prey to be able to target coyotes in the wild. Coyote pups can be particularly susceptible to attack if the mother is not close by.

Vultures feed on coyote carcasses

Anecdotal evidence and explorer experiences have reported that vultures will consume the carcass of coyotes, as they will with just about any animal. Mostly, vultures are not known for directly attacking living coyotes, however.

Vultures live around deserts, near water sources, savannas, and grassland.

vulture
vultures are scavengers

What eats coyotes – Animals that are coyote predators

Here’s a list of animals that will hunt and eat coyotes:

  • Mountain lions
  • American alligator
  • Brown bears
  • Black bears
  • Wolves
  • Other coyotes

Let’s break these down a little further.

Mountain lions prey on coyotes

The United States is known to have the highest population of mountain lions across 14 states. They are opportunistic hunters and carnivores, and hence prefer to consume fresh meat.

Mountain lions also have the most names of any other animal. Other common names include puma, panther, and cougar.

They ambush their prey, preferring to attack them from the rear, and like lions, will target the neck of their prey.

  • The mountain lions are native to North, South, and Central America.
  • Their foremost like-to-eat meat is deer. Besides deer, they also eat coyotes once a week. 
  • They also hunt elk, raccoons, bighorns, and other small to medium mammals.
  • Their habitat is mountainous terrains, steep and rocky canyons,
  • An average mountain lion consumes 10 pounds of meat per day.
mountain lion

Bears will attack coyotes

There are many from the family of bears that will target coyotes. These include Grizzly bears and black bears.

Bears are opportunistic apex predators, but there are still some animals that will take on bears. You can find out what eats a bear here.

Bears eat anything that they find worth eating. They can consume a variety of food from meat to fruits, vegetation, bees honey, and leftover carcasses.

They hunt their prey using their large front claws and ultimately aim for the neck of their prey.

  • Grizzly bears are found throughout North America and western Canada, while black bears are found in Alaska, North America, northern Mexico, and much of Canada.
  • Bears do not prefer to hunt coyotes specifically. Hunger and/or opportunity may be the driving factor.
  • Grizzlies will consume up to 30 pounds of food per day.
  • They live in grassy areas, deserts, tundra, and forests.
brown bear
Brown Bear

Find out more about the types of bears here.

Will bears eat a dead coyote? 

Bears are natural scavengers. To satisfy their hunger needs, they’ll devour almost anything. Therefore, they will eat a carcass of coyotes as well.

The American alligator will attack coyotes

The American alligator will challenge just about anything and if they are hungry, they will target most small to medium size animals that come within attacking distance.

They will use speed to attack their prey using their large jaws. They will aim to latch onto a limb or the head and will drag the target underwater to perform the death roll. This act will sever limbs and incapacitate the animal.

  • American alligators are opportunistic carnivore reptiles
  • They are found in the coastal wetlands of the United States, from Southeast to North Carolina and eastern Texas.
  • An alligator’s habitat is predominantly swamps, wetlands, slow-moving freshwater, and lakes.
  • Besides mainly feeding on fish, small mammals, turtles, and snakes, they also eat coyotes.
  • Like other cold-blooded animals, alligators have a slow metabolism so they feed around once a week.
alligator in water
alligator

Wolves will eat coyotes

Wolves are related to the family of coyotes. But coyotes are smaller in size.

Wolves are social animals that generally live, and hunt in packs. They also mate for life.

These carnivore animals like to dine primarily on large and hoofed animals such as; elks, bison, moose, etc.

In fact, while they will attack and eat coyotes, the coyote is not considered their primary source of food. But they will attack them if they are in need of food.

  • Wolves are found in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  • Wolves eat coyotes when there is little to no other source of food available.
  • They also attack them if they sense competition from the pack of coyotes..
  • Wolves live in forests, grasslands, tundra, and deserts.
  • The average wolf can consume up to 20 lb (9 kg) of meat per day.
pack of wolves hunting
pack of wolves hunting

Find out exactly what wolves eat here. Also what eats a wolf.

Let’s move on to answer some of the common questions people have about what eats coyotes.

Other coyotes eat coyotes

At times when coyotes are guarding their young, or in situations where coyotes clash regarding territories or mating rights, it has produced situations in which some coyotes have attacked and subsequently eaten other coyotes.

coyote standing in grassland

What eat coyotes – other threats

In the wild, there are always threats beyond just other animals. Coyotes face starvation with competition for food during winter, common diseases and parasites, and social stress. All these lead to population control.  Another threat is that of humans and hunting or the risks along busy highways.

What eats coyotes – other questions

Coyotes have many predators across different habitats. Some will aim to hunt and eat coyotes in grasslands. Others will target them in deserts. Let’s look at some of these situations, and answer other questions about what eats coyotes.

What animals eat coyotes in the desert?

Many predators eat coyotes in deserts. Since the coyotes have a variety of habitats from plains, forest areas, deserts, prairies, and grasslands. These include Golden eagles, mountain lions, bears, and wolves will all take on coyotes in desert regions.

Many will trail and track down their hunt and attack as soon as they get a perfect moment. Some are more opportunistic and will eat coyotes if the opportunity or need arises

What animals eat a coyote in grassland?

Many animals will consider hunting and eating coyotes in grassland areas. These include bears and wolves who will attack coyotes when found across grassland, and vultures will eat coyote carcasses in grassland areas too. 

What decomposer eats a coyote?

Decomposers are organisms that eat dead decomposing matter. This includes fungi, maggots, snails, and earthworms. All will dine on decomposing coyote corpses.

What eats a dead coyote?

Many animals eat the carcass of a coyote after it has died. These include the golden eagle, bald eagle, horned owl, vultures, and bears as scavengers who would all eat the dead remains of a coyote.

What consumers eat coyotes?

Consumers are the animals on the food chain that consume other animals in order to survive. The tertiary predators consume the coyotes, i.e., bears, mountain lions, alligators, wolves, and dogs also eat coyotes.

What eats coyotes – more wildlife help

We hope this has helped to provide plenty of information on what eats coyotes. Their main predators, and where and how they will attack coyotes. Be sure to check out ranger planet for more information and helpful wildlife articles.

Michael

A Certified Ecologist and an Entomologist, Michael has been interested in all aspects of Nature for many years. It's only now he's decided, along with his partner Fran, to begin documenting what he knows.

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