Eastern vs. Western Coyotes

Eastern vs. Western Coyotes

One of these subspecies is the eastern coyote (Canis latrans thamnos

) found in New England and other parts of the Northeast, along with southeastern Canada.  Our coyotes are descendants of Great Plains coyotes that expanded their range to the north and east as forests were cut and wolves were extirpated.  Eastern coyote DNA reveals that, as coyotes spread through southern Canada, they occasionally interbred with the wolves they encountered.  As a result, our eastern coyotes are larger than their western counterparts. With a typical weight of 30-50 pounds and a length of 48-60 inches (nose to tail), they can sometimes reach twice the size of their more diminutive relatives.  Because there are no wolves in Rhode Island, our coyotes are not actively cross-breeding and are not “coywolves.”  They are coyotes with some wolf genes they picked up along the way to New England.  These genes give them the tendency and the ability to hunt deer. This trait is very beneficial—for coyotes and people—in regions overpopulated by deer. Because many canids (species in the dog family) readily hybridize, our coyotes have some dog genes incorporated in their DNA as well.

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