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Coyote Dens: Where Do Coyotes Live?

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coyote walking in the field
Coyotes live in prairies, deserts, woods, cities and suburbs. They even have them in big cities like Los Angeles.

© iStock.com/Fabiomichelecapelli

No doubt you've read about coyotes in your area, heard stories or seen them in person. These canids once lived in the vast grasslands and deserts, but now roam the forests, mountains and cities of North America. The species has even made its way into the suburbs of many large cities, including Los Angeles. But where did they hide their nests? Read on to learn more about where these crafty creatures live and how they build their lairs.

Where do coyotes live? coyote den

A coyote puppy eating some prey, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Coyotes usually only build or build dens to give birth to their young and protect them. They will use resources such as tree stumps or old burrows of other animals to hide in.

©Muriel Lasure/Shutterstock.com

Coyotes use dens exclusively during the pup season; otherwise, they sleep in the open or undercover. Coyote dens can be found anywhere that is easy to hide.

Dens can be hollowed out tree stumps, rock outcrops, or existing burrows for raccoons, skunks, or other medium-sized predators. Coyotes also dig their own dens. They prefer protective covers like plants or trees, and drainage slopes.

What does a coyote den look like?

Do coyotes hunt in packs?
Mothers will move their young from den to den to protect them from predators.

©FRAYN/Shutterstock.com

To build a coyote den, both parents may dig on sandy hillsides or steep river banks. Brush often hides access. The Chamber of Secrets is accessed through tunnels dug a few to fifty feet down the hillside. The mother will nurse and protect her pups in a chamber three to six feet underwater.

Sometimes coyotes expand the burrows of other animals. They may also use hollow logs, rock piles, or culverts as nests. Even when nesting in the suburbs, coyotes choose places with little human activity. Parents can relocate litter if disturbed.

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Mothers often move their pups from den to den to keep them safe or reuse the same den year after year. However, in increasingly populated areas, coyotes may choose to nest near houses, roads or even parking lots.

Where do coyotes live? List of Common Habitats

mother and baby coyote on rock
Coyotes live in cities, suburbs, woods, deserts, grasslands, swamps, and tundra.

©iStock.com/roclwyr

Coyote dens and hiding places have been found in many places, such as:

City

Urban coyotes, surprisingly wary of humans, can become quite bold. These scavengers find safe green spaces in parks and golf courses. If their food runs out, they will expand their territory. Urban coyotes can live peacefully in even small areas if there is enough food and shelter.

suburbs

Coyotes live in cities, towns and rural/semi-urban areas. Since many Americans are going green, the animals are more likely to live near farms. They can easily prey on pets here. A coyote's diet requires them to live near crops or fields.

the trees

Historically, coyotes lived in woodlands. However, they are born in the wild and can adapt to any environment. Most coyotes seek cover deep in the forest where food is plentiful. They may dig tunnels and cover them with shrubs to hide their nests in the woods.

desert

Coyotes are undoubtedly the most adaptable creatures. Many coyotes live in the Arizona desert. The hot desert sun, sand and cold night wind will not bother them.

grassland

Coyotes, like most wild animals, seek refuge in the grasslands. They inhabit all grasslands in North America. Likewise, many of these species inhabit and breed in Yellowstone National Park.

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wetlands

Coyote territories are found in eastern North Carolina and coastal wetlands. This adaptable creature establishes a territory in wetlands. But they establish territories away from the crocodiles.

tundra

Surprisingly, coyotes swim just fine. They thrive in the tundra, a vast, treeless region of North America. They also live in the Arctic tundra.

safety advice

coyote walking in field
Coyote attacks are rare. However, it is important to remain vigilant at all times and contact the authorities if necessary.

© iStock.com/Fabiomichelecapelli

Although coyotes are natural predators, coyotes aren't out to catch people. If we understand their motivations, how to keep them away, and how to protect ourselves and our pets, we can happily coexist with them no matter where we live. For example:

  • Do not feed coyotes and keep food out of their reach.
  • Keep pet food indoors and trash out of sight.
  • Avoid allowing small animals, such as squirrels, to eat near bird feeders. They can attract coyotes.
  • Clean the grill when not in use.
  • Dispose of roadkill and other dead animals.
  • Do not leave your pet alone at night.
  • Install fences and motion sensor lights to keep predators away from your pets.
  • Provide a fence or safe space for any outdoor animal.
  • If you spot coyotes, cover them up. This includes yelling at them, waving your arms, throwing things at them (not at them) and/or spraying them with a hose (if available).

Remember that while coyotes can become dog-like to humans, they are still wild animals and will defend their territory in a split second. So if you spot a coyote den, be very careful and never go near a coyote or its pups.

did you know?

Coyotes are a lot like humans. Just like us, they have large family structures, eat a wide variety of foods, and live in a variety of environments. They mate for life with single partners, and both parents help raise the children.

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They are pack animals that love their families very much. If they can't find suitable land, they'll even set aside part of the area for one of their offspring. They playfully communicate through vocalizations and scent markings and are very intelligent creatures.

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featured image

mother and baby coyote on rock
Coyotes hunt at night, reducing human contact with them.

© iStock.com/roclwyr


about the author


I have spent a large part of my life as a writer and artist with great respect for viewing nature analytically and metaphysically. After careful investigation, the natural world reveals truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of everything we have is embodied in our planet; the process of writing and creating art around this subject is an attempt to convey the wonder of it.

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