What do coyotes eat? Are They Carnivores or Omnivores?

Coyotes are highly adaptable and resourceful predators found across North and Central America. With their keen hunting skills and opportunistic nature, they have established a diverse and varied diet. In this blog post, we will explore the eating habits of coyotes, delving into their consumption patterns concerning various animals, plants, and fruits. After reading this write-up, you will have a sound idea about what do Coyotes Eat. Join us on this intriguing journey to discover what coyotes feast upon in the wild.

Coyote diet What do coyotes eat
Coyote diet: What do coyotes eat?

Coyotes and Their Appetites: What Do Coyotes Eat Regularly?

Although they may appear to be minor, their appetites are anything but. Some people ask, are coyotes omnivores? Yes, they’re omnivores, which means that they feed on a variety of different plants and animals. 

Understanding the eating habits of coyotes is essential for understanding their behavior and can help us to coexist peacefully with them in our shared ecosystems. In this blog post, we’ll look at what coyotes like to eat and provide some helpful information about how to live alongside these majestic creatures.

What are the Most Popular Coyote Eating Habits?

A coyote eating a mouse after catching it.
A coyote eating a mouse.

Coyotes are opportunistic eaters, which means they are adaptable and can feed on various prey depending on the food availability in their habitat. They are omnivores, meaning they can eat plants and animals.

The most popular coyote eating habits are scavenging and hunting. Scavenging is feeding on dead animals that they come across, such as roadkill, while hunting involves actively seeking prey.

Coyotes feed on small mammals such as rabbits, rodents, and squirrels. They also eat insects, fruits, and berries. Additionally, they can hunt larger animals, such as deer, but this is rare.

Coyotes have also been observed eating garbage and pet food left outside, which can lead to conflicts with humans. It is essential to secure your trash cans and not leave pet food outside to avoid attracting coyotes.

Understanding the eating habits of coyotes is essential to coexisting with them in a way that is safe for both humans and animals. By knowing what coyotes eat, we can take steps to reduce conflicts and ensure their survival in our shared environment.

Are Coyotes Omnivores, Carnovores or Scavangers?

Coyote eating elk carcass
Coyote eating elk carcass.

Coyotes are classified as omnivores, meaning they have a varied diet and can eat plant and animal matter. This diet flexibility allows coyotes to adapt to changing environments and food availability. 

While coyotes are mainly carnivorous, they are also known to consume fruits, berries, and insects. They have a diverse prey range, including small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and squirrels, and larger prey such as deer, elk, and livestock. Coyotes are opportunistic predators, meaning they hunt for prey, scavenge for food, and feed on carrion.

Coyotes also have a keen sense of smell, which allows them to detect food from far away. This ability to locate and eat different food sources helps coyotes survive in various habitats, from rural farmlands to urban areas.

A Comprehensive List of Coyotes’ Diet Plan

As the above discussion shows, Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and scavengers, meaning their diet is quite diverse. This will also answer the question, are coyotes scavengers? They eat everything from insects to large mammals and even fruit and vegetables. They are also omnivorous, meaning they eat plant and animal matter. Around 90% of their diet is composed of animal matter. 

Some common animal prey that coyotes feed on include rodents, rabbits, hares, squirrels, raccoons, deer, birds, and even fish. They also eat insects, reptiles, and amphibians, particularly during summer.

Do Coyotes Eat Dead Animals?

Coyotes eating a dead animal
Coyotes eating a dead animal.

Those that eat dead animals are known as scavengers. Coyotes also scavenge, feeding on dead animals, carrion, roadkill, and garbage. Regarding plant matter, coyotes have been known to eat fruits, nuts, and berries. In areas with abundant agricultural land, they have been observed eating crops such as melons, pumpkins, and corn. However, their primary food source is typically meat, which they obtain through hunting or scavenging.

For your convenience, we have brought you a detailed list of all the animals that a Coyote might eat. 

Are Coyotes Carnivores?

Yes, coyotes are carnivores.
Coyotes are meat eaters.

Coyotes are known to prey on other animals that are small enough to prey on easily. While they prefer smaller prey, such as rodents, rabbits, and birds, they are opportunistic hunters and will target deer if given a chance. However, it’s worth noting that coyotes usually hunt weakened or young deer, as adult deer pose a significant challenge. That also solves the dilemma of whether or not are coyotes carnivores. As is apparent that carnivores would eat meat, and the above explanation proves it very well about Coyotes.

Do Coyotes Eat Raccoons?

Coyotes are known to target raccoons occasionally. Raccoons can be a part of their diet, especially in areas where raccoon populations are abundant. However, coyotes are not heavily reliant on raccoons for sustenance and will generally prefer easier prey.

YouTube video
Watch coyote hunting for its food.

Do Coyotes Eat Skunks?

Coyotes are known to have a complex relationship with skunks. While they do consume skunks, they are cautious due to the skunk’s ability to spray a foul-smelling odor. Coyotes will typically only confront skunks if there is a compelling reason or scarcity of other food sources.

Do Coyotes Eat Snakes?

Coyotes are opportunistic feeders and will consume snakes if they come across them. While snakes are not a significant part of their diet, they can serve as an occasional food source, notably smaller snake species.

Do Coyotes Eat Armadillos?

Armadillos are not a standard part of a coyote’s diet. Armadillos possess a hard shell that can make them challenging to prey upon. Coyotes generally prefer easier and more accessible prey options.

Do Coyotes Eat Beavers?

Coyotes do eat beavers, but it is not a primary food source. Beavers are larger animals and can be challenging to catch. However, coyotes will not hesitate to consume a beaver carcass if the opportunity arises.

Do Coyotes Eat Wolves?

While coyotes and wolves share similar ancestry, they typically occupy different ecological niches and have minimal direct interactions. In some instances, when resources are scarce, territorial conflicts can occur, leading to aggression and even occasional killing. However, instances of coyotes preying on wolves are rare.

Do Coyotes Eat Other Coyotes?

Coyotes can exhibit cannibalistic behavior in certain situations, particularly during territorial disputes or when resources are scarce. However, cannibalism among coyotes is rare and typically occurs in specific circumstances.

Do Coyotes Eat Deer?

A deer killed for food by coyotes
A deer killed by coyotes for food.

Coyotes are skilled hunters and can hunt deer when necessary. They often utilize a pack hunting strategy to take down larger prey. However, they generally target smaller, more abundant prey to meet their daily nutritional needs.

Do Coyotes Eat Hawks?

While coyotes primarily focus on small to medium-sized mammals, they are opportunistic predators and may consume hawks if given the opportunity. Being aerial predators, Hawks are not a regular part of their diet.

Do Coyotes Eat Chickens?

Coyotes are notorious for preying on domestic poultry, including chickens. They pose a significant threat to backyard flocks, and precautions should be taken to secure chicken coops and protect the birds from coyote predation.

Do Coyotes Eat Squirrels?

Do Coyotes Eat Squirrels
Coyote having a squirrel in the mouth, for lunchtime.

Coyotes frequently target squirrels as a food source. Squirrels are abundant, relatively small, and easily accessible, making them an attractive prey option for coyotes.

Do Coyotes Eat Rattlesnakes?

Coyotes are known to consume rattlesnakes, but their interactions with these venomous reptiles are complex. Coyotes often display remarkable agility and are capable of avoiding snake strikes. They may also develop a degree of immunity to snake venom over time.

Do Coyotes Eat Berries?

Coyotes have been observed consuming berries, especially when other food sources are scarce. While berries are not a primary component of their diet, they can serve as a supplementary food source.

Do Coyotes Eat Rats?

Coyote eating a rat
Coyote eating a rat.

Coyotes will consume rats if the opportunity arises. Rats are small and abundant, making them a readily available food source for coyotes in urban and rural areas.

Do Coyotes Eat Birds?

A coyote eating a bird near a pond
A coyote eating a bird near a pond.

Coyotes will prey on birds, particularly ground-nesting species or those injured or weakened. However, birds are not a significant component of their diet, as they primarily focus on mammals.

Do Coyotes Eat Corn?

Coyotes are known to raid cornfields and consume corn, especially during harvest. Corn can serve as a valuable food source for coyotes, supplementing their diet during periods of scarcity.

Do Coyotes Eat Fish?

Coyotes are capable of catching fish but typically do so opportunistically. They are not specialized fish hunters and generally target fish in shallow water or during seasonal movements.

Do Coyotes Eat Plants?

While coyotes are primarily carnivorous, they may consume plant material in certain situations. This includes fruits, vegetables, and grass, mainly when prey is scarce.

Do Coyotes Eat Pumpkins and Watermelons?

Coyotes have been known to scavenge pumpkins and watermelons, especially during the fall harvest season. These items can serve as an occasional food source when they come across them.


The eating habits of coyotes are diverse and adaptable, enabling them to survive in various ecosystems. While they primarily target small to medium-sized mammals like rodents, rabbits, and birds, coyotes are opportunistic predators that can adapt their diet to the availability of resources. Understanding their dietary preferences and behaviors helps us better appreciate these remarkable creatures that have successfully adapted to coexist alongside humans in many landscapes.

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