Cars And Coyotes

 Now I know why I took it -- because I found it both sad and interesting and so beautiful. Looks like it could be sleeping.

“Now I know why I took this photo — because I found it both sad and interesting and so beautiful. Looks like it could be sleeping.” Meta Larsson

By far, the most common killer of urban coyotes is cars  — these amount to 40 to 70% of urban coyote deaths each year. Vehicles can be thought of as urban coyotes’ number one “predator”. This is not surprising because coyotes take long daily treks through vast urban landscapes which include an extensive grid of roadways.

In addition, a car may not kill right away, but instead may permanently maim and produce injuries which make life that much more difficult, ultimately shortening the coyote’s life.

A coyote’s full potential lifespan of about 14 years (they live this long in captivity) is usually reduced drastically to an average of around 3-5 years in the wild, though some individuals beat the odds and live a little longer.

Coyotes also die from malnutrition and diseases such as mange, and in rural areas, a huge number are shot for no reason at all except that they are coyotes. A coyote’s life is not easy.

By the way, cars are also a primary killer of pets: over 5.4 million cats are killed each year by cars and over 1.2 million dogs are killed each year by cars. Interestingly, dog bites to other pets are the third largest injury to pets — coyote injuries to pets is dwarfed by these statistics.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rick Meril
    Dec 20, 2015 @ 15:41:05

    love your insights and your posts……..Merry Christmas!

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Traysea
    Dec 21, 2015 @ 01:26:31

    You should have left a warning with that post as it was very upsetting to view this dead coyote on the road and I would have rather not have seen this.


  3. Morgana
    Dec 25, 2015 @ 13:01:58

    Nothing beautiful, coyotes are animals know nothing about technology as cars


    • yipps
      Dec 25, 2015 @ 14:13:17

      Beauty can transcend death — no different from the beauty of fall colors which are simply dying or dead leaves.

  4. Michelle Wong
    Apr 30, 2018 @ 16:37:29

    Hi Janet,

    I am wondering if you have ever seen a low impact car strike on a coyote. Where there any tell tale signs? I have often seen large wounds from high speed impacts but cannot tell the difference between a coyote that was hit at around 40mph and able to walk away still, then die soon after of internal bleeding, or one that was shot.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Apr 30, 2018 @ 19:41:21

      Hi Michelle — I have seen low-impact collisions with coyotes: the coyote was left limping badly. But if you find a *dead* coyote, if you are willing to examine the animal, you could search for a bullet wound, or extensive bruising under the fur — it won’t be easy. Another reason you might have found a dead coyote is from rat poison: I found such a coyote two years ago. The only way I found out why it had died was that I was willing to pay $300 for a necropsy. Janet

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