Coyote Mating Season: When, Whys, And Hows Of Breeding

Coyotes as you know very well have become a very important part of the ecosystem, especially in the North American continent. Being highly adaptable creatures, they are continuously expanding their territorial range from North Canada to Mexico in the South. Till now, they have been very successfully able to maintain their population throughout the continent despite being hunted on a very large scale for various reasons. Now, it has become quite a common spot for coyotes in every state of the USA.

Being such an important animal, it is very important to know all about its activities. In this regard, the coyote mating season is also one of the most important things to understand regarding the coyote lifestyle. Normally, this mating season starts in late January and ends at the start of March and you can see coyotes most active during this time of the year.

In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the coyote’s breeding season and what habits they generally have. We will also let you know about all the tips which would be extremely helpful in preventing conflict with these wild dogs.

When is coyote mating season?
A romantic coyote pair in mating season.

When is coyote mating season?

Coyote mating season can vary depending on the specific region and environmental conditions, but it typically occurs in late winter to early spring. In North America, the mating season for coyotes often takes place between January and March, with February being a peak month for mating. Overall, the mating season of the coyote lasts 4 to 6 weeks. Keep in mind that these timeframes can vary due to factors such as climate, food availability, and geographic location. In the initial phase of their life, the seasons are followed by mating, raising, and finally dispersal.

Mating habits of the coyote

Courting/breeding coyote pair in the snow
Breeding coyote pair in the snow.

Coyotes are highly adaptable and resourceful animals with interesting mating habits. Here’s an overview of their mating behavior:


Coyotes are typically monogamous, forming strong pair bonds that can last for several years. They are known to be cooperative breeders, with the male and female working together to raise their offspring. In some cases, other older siblings or non-breeding adults might also help in raising the young.  Mating happens when they lock together for at least 20 minutes. They don’t leave their companion during this time and only go their separate way if they face food scarcity. Male guards the female throughout the time of heat.


Coyotes engage in courtship behaviors to establish and strengthen their pair bonds. These behaviors can include mutual grooming, playful interactions, and even sharing food.

Territorial Behavior

Coyotes are territorial animals, and they will defend their territories against other coyotes. During the mating season, a pair of coyotes might howl and vocalize more to communicate their presence and boundaries to other coyotes.

Den digging

During the time of Birth, the female coyote wants to be alone or find an alternative home. For this purpose, they dig their own den separately. The male coyotes don’t go inside this area and guard the area from outside until the week before delivery. They also provide food during this period. Female coyotes take at least a week from giving birth to coming out of their den.

Mating Ritual

The mating ritual of coyotes can involve various behaviors such as chasing, play-fighting, and vocalizations. The female often initiates mating by engaging in playful behavior, such as running away from the male, enticing him to chase her.

Coyote Gestation period

After successful mating, the female coyote undergoes a gestation period of about 60 to 63 days. She then gives birth to a litter of pups, which usually ranges from 3 to 12 pups, depending on factors like food availability. The male often assists in providing food for the female during her pregnancy.

Raising Pups

Both the male and female are involved in caring for the pups. They provide food, and protection, and teach the young coyotes important survival skills. The pups are weaned at around 5 to 7 weeks of age and start venturing out of the den.


As the pups grow older, they eventually disperse from their natal territory to establish their own territories and find potential mates, contributing to the coyote population’s genetic diversity.


Pups remain hidden in the den and rely on their parents for food and all other things. Initially, they go out in the form of a pack with their parents and learn about hunting and survival skills. After learning these skills, they go out on their own and go on their expeditions.

These are common behaviors, but there can be variations in coyote mating habits due to factors like geographic location, habitat, and environmental conditions. Coyotes’ adaptability has allowed them to thrive in various habitats, from rural areas to urban environments, leading to some behavioral differences based on their surroundings.

Tips for preventing conflict with the coyotes during mating season

Tips for preventing conflict with the coyotes during mating season

Preventing conflicts with coyotes during their mating season requires a combination of understanding their behavior, implementing proactive measures, and promoting coexistence. Here are some steps you can take to minimize conflicts:

  • Coyotes are opportunistic feeders. To avoid attracting them, secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids, avoid leaving pet food outside, and clean up fallen fruit from trees. It reduces the likelihood of coyotes being drawn to residential areas.
  • During mating season, it’s essential to keep your pets, especially small dogs and cats, supervised and leashed when outdoors. Keeping pets close reduces the risk of encounters.
  • Install sturdy fencing that is at least 6 feet tall to deter coyotes from entering your property. Bury the bottom of the fence several inches below the ground to prevent digging.
  • Seal off spaces under porches, decks, and sheds. These areas can become den sites for coyotes seeking shelter for raising their pups.
  • Clear brush and tall grasses near your home. This eliminates potential hiding spots for coyotes and makes your property less attractive to them.
  • If you encounter a coyote on your property, use techniques like making loud noises, yelling, waving your arms, or using a whistle to deter them. The goal is to make them uncomfortable and encourage them to leave.
  • Collaborate with your neighbors to create a community-wide effort to minimize coyote attractants. Educate others about responsible practices to prevent conflicts.
  • Feeding other wildlife, such as birds or squirrels, can inadvertently attract coyotes. They might be drawn to these areas in search of food.
  • If you have livestock, ensure that they are kept in secure enclosures with strong fencing, especially during coyote mating season when they might be more active.
  • Deliberately feeding coyotes can lead to habituation and increase the risk of conflicts. Coyotes that associate humans with food can become more brazen in their behavior.
  • In the rare event that you encounter a coyote, remain calm and do not run. Back away slowly while facing the coyote, maintaining eye contact.
  • If you experience persistent coyote conflicts or observe aggressive behavior, contact your local animal control or wildlife agency. They can provide advice and, if necessary, take appropriate measures.

Coyote mating season in Texas

In Texas, coyote mating season generally occurs during the late winter to early spring months, which is consistent with the timing in many other regions. Specifically, coyotes in Texas tend to mate between January and March. During this period, you might observe increased coyote activity, including more vocalizations as they communicate with potential mates. Keep in mind that while this is a general timeframe, variations can occur based on local conditions, such as weather and food availability.

Do coyotes mate for life?

A pair of coyote courting in the mating season.
Coyotes embrace monogamy, albeit with a hint of flexibility.

Coyotes typically exhibit strong pair bonds, which can last for several years, but they are not strictly monogamous in the sense of mating for life like some other species, such as swans. Coyotes are known to be monogamous in the sense that they form pairs during the breeding season and often stay together to raise their pups, which helps in providing care and protection for the young.

However, these pair bonds can change over time, especially if one of the individuals dies or if there are changes in the local coyote population dynamics. In some cases, coyotes might find new mates after the loss of a partner or during subsequent breeding seasons. So, while coyotes do form strong and long-lasting pair bonds, their mating relationships are not necessarily lifelong commitments like in some other animal species.

Frequently asked questions

Coyotes are generally active throughout the year, but their activity levels can vary based on factors such as weather, food availability, and breeding season. In many regions, including North America, coyotes tend to be more active during the cooler months, particularly during the fall, winter, and early spring.

During the mating season, which typically occurs from late winter to early spring (January to March in many areas), coyotes might exhibit increased activity levels and vocalizations as they communicate with potential mates.

Coyotes usually give birth in the spring. The timing can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, climate, and food availability, but the typical birthing season for coyotes in North America is from late March to early May. This period allows the pups to be born when temperatures are milder and food resources are generally more abundant due to the springtime increase in small mammals and other prey.

Coyotes can exhibit more territorial and protective behavior during certain times of the year, which might be perceived as aggression, especially if they feel their territory or young pups are threatened. Some situations when coyotes might appear more aggressive are during the breeding season, raising pups, and during interaction with human beings.


As winter transitions into spring, typically from January to March, coyotes undergo a transformation that sees them become more vocal, territorial, and focused on establishing strong pair bonds.  It usually happens as the coyote mating season draws to a close. In this period, the coyote life cycle continues with new generations of pups born in the dens, nurturing their curious spirits and setting the stage for the ongoing balance of nature. In this article, we have explained in detail the mating season of the coyote and all the complexities involved with it.

Similar Posts