Coyotes and foxes are the members of same Canidae family. These animals have many similarities in terms of their shape, size, and overall appearance but there are also some differences for easy differentiation. Generally, coyotes only belong to the North-American continent while foxes could be found anywhere in the world. A coyote is a wild canine of the genus Canis and it shows close resemblance with animals like wolves, dogs, and jackals. On the other hand, foxes belong to different genera like Vulpes, Urocyon, and Lycalopex.
If you are a slightly sharp-eyed person, then you can easily differentiate between them but if you don’t know much about wildlife then there might be confusion. In this article, we are going to compare coyote vs fox on the basis of various factors and clear all your confusion about them.
- Comparing fox vs coyote
- Key difference between coyotes and foxes
- Are jackals a hybrid of the coyote and fox?
- Some key facts about coyotes and foxes
- Is a fox or coyote more dangerous?
- Can a fox breed with a coyote?
- Do coyotes eat foxes?
- Red fox vs coyote
- Frequently asked questions
Comparing fox vs coyote
Let’s have a quick look at both of these animals.
|Length||3 ft ( 5 ft if tail included)||4.5 ft without a tail.|
|Weight||30 lbs||50 lbs|
|Height||14-20 inches||24 inches|
|Body||Short legs, long body, big size as compared to the overall size.||Short legs, muscular body, normal ear size.|
|Color||Black, red, gray, brown, silver, etc.||Gray or reddish brown.|
|Ears||Large pointed ears.||Large pointed ears but slightly rounded.|
|Face||The small face but narrow muzzle.||Large face with the wider muzzle.|
|Tail||Long bushy tail which trails behind as it runs.||Short tail which hangs while running.|
|Vocalization||Whines, yelps, howls.||Various kinds of vocals.|
|Geographical distribution||Worldwide||Only the North American continent.|
|Behaviors||Solitary and share territory with close family members.||Like to walk in packs.|
|Lifespan||2-4 years in the wild, 12 years in captivity.||14 years in the wild, and 20 years in captivity.|
|Gestation period||51 to 53 days gestation period.||63 days.|
|Mating behavior||Only mate with members of the same genus.||Could mate with wild animals like wolves, dogs, etc.|
Key difference between coyotes and foxes
Let’s have a look at the key difference between foxes and coyotes. Generally, there is not much difference between the coyote and fox appearance-wise. But if you don’t know about wildlife then it might be difficult for you to differentiate between these animals. We are going to differentiate between them on the basis of some key differences between them to clear your confusion about them. Let’s have a look at all the coyote and fox differences.
Size: coyote vs fox
When it comes to size, the coyote is much more muscular and larger in size. On average, it is 3 feet in length and 2 feet in height. Fox is not such a big animal as the largest specie of the fox named the red fox has almost the same size as the size of a fully adult coyote. It is just 2.5 feet in length along with 20 inches in height. Foxes have short legs and tubular bodies. The size of the fox is almost the same as the size of the domestic cat but the thick fur of the fox makes them appear larger than their original size.
Coat: fox vs coyote
You can witness various shades of gray on the coyote’s body along with red color flanks. The color of the fox varies from one specie to another. The most common colors of fox coats are black, red, brown, and gray. The easiest way to identify the fox is with the help of their red coat. The fox also changes its color as it grows older. The most intermixing of the coyote is with the gray or red color foxes.
Vocals: coyotes vs fox
Coyote sounds are quite common. They usually emit wolf-like howls, which rise or fall in its pitch, and sometimes also emit yips, yells, and barks under various circumstances. Foxes also make some howl but it is quite easy to differentiate from the whining and yelping of the foxes as these vocals are very high in their pitches. It is almost the same as the vocals of wolfs and dogs.
Coyote is a pack animal and likes to spend time with other family and sometimes other wild animals. They do a lot of socializing during mating season and after the production of coyote pups. Mating season is the only time when you can find them in their den. Most of the time they like to spend time in strange places where they set for temporary rest. On the other hand, foxes are highly solitary animals and occasionally spend time with immediate family members only. They usually socialize only during the mating season. Otherwise, they spend most of their time inside their well-defined dens.
Habitat: coyotes vs foxes
Foxes prefer to live in areas like grasslands, forests, mountains, etc. You can find a lot of foxes in the underground tunnels, and caves. Foxes also make a lot of burrows for sleeping and storing food. On the other hand, coyote-like to live in open spaces. They may use some covered areas for hiding purposes but they use it only for the time being. They have also started living near urban areas. You can also find coyotes in underground caves but they don’t make special caves for this purpose. Most of the time they occupy the living place made by other wild animals like raccoons, badgers, etc.
Learn more about where do coyotes live here.
Both of these animals mainly define the territory of their home with the help of their own urine markings. They also utilize some special scent in their paws which they emit after rubbing with surrounding rocks. Both of these things are extremely helpful in defining the territory of the coyote and fox.
Foxes are mainly targeted by wild animals like wolves, coyotes, eagles, bears, humans, etc. on the other hand, coyotes are killed by large animals like tigers, mountain lions, wolves, bears, humans, etc.
Foxes are very well known for their long bushy tail. The tail is usually dragged on the earth while running. The tip of the tails is usually black or white in color. On the other hand, the tail of the coyote is short as compared to their overall body size and it usually hangs in the air while running. It is also bushy but not as much as the fox tail is.
Poop of these animals look similar but there is a difference in terms of their size. The scat of the fox is just 2 inches long while the coyote emits 4 inches long scat. You can find animals’ hairs, bones, and other things like berries in their feces. The poop of these animals also comes out in a pointed or twisted form.
Foxes are not very aggressive animals. They are not considered any major threats to your pets, and children. They usually run away where ever they see the presence of human beings. Foxes could only attack human beings the fix is suffering from rabid which very rarely happens and you can also tackle it to some extent. Coyotes are considered aggressive animals. They could easily sneak into the residential areas and attack your pets like cats, dogs, and also sometime your children. They rarely attack human beings but there are chances if they feel threatened or cornered by the human beings.
The lifespan of coyotes and foxes mainly rely on several factors like habitat, health, living region, kind of specie, etc. on average, foxes have a short lifespan as they can only live up to 2-4 years in the wilderness and up to 12 years in captivity. On the hand, a coyote can live very long. They can easily live up to 14 years in the wilderness and 20 years in captivity. The lifespan of these animals is also affected by the kinds of predators they have, the disease they face, and human interest in them.
Are jackals a hybrid of the coyote and fox?
Jackal is a wild animal that shows a lot of resemblance with both the fox and coyote in the wilderness. It seems like it is the hybrid of these animals. In reality, it is not the hybrid of these animals and altogether different animals from these two animals. It is altogether impossible for the coyote to have any link with the jackal as you can find the coyote only in North America while the jackal could be found in any corner of the world. However, it might have any link with the fox animal.
Some key facts about coyotes and foxes
Both of these animals have some unique features other than differences and similarities between them. Let’s have a look at these unique features.
- Foxes belong to genus Vulpes while coyote is a wild canine.
- Coyotes are taller than foxes but both of these animals have short legs.
- Both of these animals have non-retractable claws which are highly helpful in hunting and other survival needs.
- Both are good hunters. Foxes mainly prefer to eat small mammals like birds, insects, etc. Coyote also targets large wild animals like rabbits, deer, etc.
- Foxes are very well-known for their cleverness while coyote lacks these problem-solving skills. Coyotes are also intelligent but not as much as foxes are.
Is a fox or coyote more dangerous?
Coyotes are big size wild animals and they will also prey on their own pets in case of emergency. On the other hand, foxes don’t show such behavior. Fox may attack other small animals like cats in case of emergency but not its own pets. Coyotes are also bold enough that these animals are living near human residential areas and sometimes also attack the properties and pets of human beings. Foxes don’t show such behavior and usually run away if they see any human beings coming toward them.
Can a fox breed with a coyote?
It is occasionally raised this question that can coyotes breed with foxes or is coyote fox mix possible? They belong to the same canidae family but a different genus. It means that they could not generate enough chromosomes which are compatible with the production of offspring. They may have very close resemblance in terms of their general appearance but there is no scientific evidence available about the coyote and fox hybrid.
Do coyotes eat foxes?
If the fight happens between these animals then the coyote will be the ultimate winner. Coyote is also among the main predators of the fox. Coyote is also larger in size as compared to fox. Coyote is also better in terms of its overall body strength. Coyote is also more brutal and aggressive by nature. Coyotes will not only kill the fox but will also prefer to eat it as there is no restriction on canid members from eating each other.
Red fox vs coyote
Red foxes are a special species of foxes. The size of the red fox is comparable to the size of the coyote. If a fight happens between them then anyone could overpower the other specie with a minimum margin. It means it could be tied and both eventually run away after getting tired from the fight. One of them could also overpower the other one if one could target some sensitive part of the other one. Red foxes are considered more cunning wild animals as compared to coyotes. It means that they could target coyote on their sensitive parts and kill it eventually.
Also, read our comparison of gray fox vs coyote.
Frequently asked questions
In this comparison of coyote vs fox, we have tried our best to highlight all the relevant points possible. We have compared them on the basis of their many common properties like their body size, social behavior, aggressiveness, etc. Overall, it has been found that the coyote is larger in size and also stronger than foxes. Coyotes can easily overpower and kill foxes if a fight happens between them. Coyotes could attack human beings but it is not possible in the case of foxes. We have also highlighted the comparison between coyotes and other animals. overall, it is a very comprehensive overview you can never miss anything between coyotes and foxes after going through this review.
Izzy is an experienced ranch worker who has a passion for exploring nature and getting up close to wildlife. With her connections to various animal organizations, Izzy is well-versed in animal care and rehabilitation.