What Eats Coyotes? Exploring The Top Coyote Predators

Coyotes have quite a stable population throughout the North American continent. These are very vibrant and highly adaptable wild dogs that are continuously expanding their territory day by day and now have reached almost every nook and corner of the continent. They can easily adjust themselves in any kind of habitat and could also rely on a variety of food items. Coyotes mainly target small animals like rodents, mice, rats, and rabbits but if these animals are scarce, they could also eat garbage, fruits, pet food, etc.

Coyotes might be highly adaptable and fierce predators but they are not immune from the target of other big animals. Common coyote predators are cougars, bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Sometimes eagles and dogs target coyote pups. If they are in the pack then the coyote can also deal with their predators.

Sometimes coyotes also have to face some diseases, parasites, and scarcity of food. These things also led to their death. Moreover, human beings are also hunting and trapping coyotes on a very large scale due to commercial reasons or to control their widely expanding population. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the coyote predators or what eats coyotes.

What Eats Coyotes? or Coyote predators

Basics about the coyotes

Coyotes are omnivore animals but they like to eat meat and 90% of their diet consists of meat. They only eat other things in case of emergency. To fulfill the needs of their diet, they rely on small, weak, and defenseless animals like rodents, mice, rats, rabbits, birds, and sometimes deer. There is a very interesting fact about the coyote that they can kill rattlesnakes if they come towards their pups.

Coyotes could also adjust themselves in various kinds of habitats like mountains, forests, deserts, grasslands, open fields, etc. Wolves had been the main predators of the coyote in North America. Coyotes have started moving very fast in the continent and established a very stable population only after the elimination of the wolves from the continent. Now, they are good in numbers and continuously multiplying their number despite being killed on a very large scale in the form of hunting, trapping, road accidents, etc.

What eats coyotes?

Coyotes might be very fierce and brave wild dogs but they could not bear the attack of some big animals like wolves, cougars, mountain lions, American alligators, grizzly bears, golden eagles, and Canadian lynxes. These animals are the main coyote predators. Coyotes may deal with these animals to some extent if they also come in the form of a pack. In this case, they could escape the battlefield and save themselves. Let’s discuss the main predators of the coyotes. Most of them are coyote natural predators.

Wolves as coyote predators

Wolves as coyote predators

Wolves and coyotes belong to the same family and share certain characteristics, they are distinct species with different ecological roles and behaviors. Wolves are generally larger and more socially organized than coyotes. While both wolves and coyotes are predators and can compete for similar resources, their interactions can vary based on factors such as habitat, territory, and prey availability.

Wolves and coyotes can sometimes come into conflict due to competition for food and territory. Wolves are known to be dominant predators in many ecosystems and can easily outcompete coyotes. Wolves are actually the main predators of the coyote. Once the wolves were intentionally introduced in the Lamar River Valley and they led to the decline of the 40% coyote population of the valley. The way the wolves target the animals like coyotes, it seems like the wolves have an inherent rage against these animals.

Do mountain lions eat coyotes?

Do mountain lions eat coyotes? Yes, they can.

Yes, cougars also known as mountain lions are indeed predators of coyotes. Cougars are large carnivores and are considered apex predators in many ecosystems where they are found. They primarily prey on a variety of ungulates such as deer, but they are opportunistic hunters and can target smaller prey as well, including coyotes.

Cougars are solitary animals that require a substantial amount of food to sustain themselves. In areas where both cougars and coyotes coexist, interactions between the two species can occur. Cougars are known to prey on coyotes when the opportunity arises. Coyotes might represent a potential food source for cougars, especially in situations where deer or other preferred prey are scarce. However, direct confrontations between cougars and healthy adult coyotes might not be very common due to the coyotes’ agility and evasive behaviors.

Moreover, if the coyotes come in the form of Pack, then they could challenge the fierceness of the cougar and doesn’t let them do anything and most of the time escape from the scene. Cougars generally stalk their prey for some time and when the prey reaches the habitats like bushy or hilly areas then cougars ambush it.

Grizzly bear as a predator of the coyotes

Grizzly bear as a predator of the coyotes

One question which is often raised is does a bear eat a coyote? Yes, the bear can eat coyotes. Grizzly bears are large omnivorous mammals and are not typically considered primary predators of coyotes. Grizzly bears have a varied diet that includes plants, fruits, insects, fish, small mammals, and carrion. While they are not specialized predators of coyotes, there have been instances where grizzly bears have been observed interacting with coyotes in different ways. 

While grizzly bears are not a major predator of coyotes, their presence in an ecosystem can indirectly influence coyote behavior and population dynamics. For example, if grizzly bears scavenge on a carcass, coyotes might be pushed to hunt smaller prey or find alternative food sources.

Canadian lynx as a predator of the coyote

Canadian lynx are not significant predators of coyotes

Canadian lynx are medium-sized wild cats that primarily inhabit boreal forests and are adapted to prey on smaller mammals, particularly snowshoe hares, which make up a significant portion of their diet. While Canadian lynx are not known to be significant predators of coyotes, there have been instances of predation on coyote pups or smaller individuals.

In areas where the ranges of Canadian lynx and coyotes overlap, there might be some limited interactions between the two species. Lynx are agile and stealthy predators, well-suited for capturing prey in dense forest environments. If a lynx encounters a young or smaller coyote, it might attempt to catch it. However, these interactions are likely rare and opportunistic, rather than a significant ecological relationship.

Also Read: Jackal vs coyote

American alligators as a predator of coyotes

What eats coyotes? An American alligator can but their interaction is rare.

American alligators primarily inhabit freshwater environments such as swamps, marshes, lakes, and rivers in the southeastern United States. While they are apex predators within their ecosystems, they are not known to be significant predators of coyotes.

American alligators feed on aquatic prey such as fish, turtles, birds, and mammals that come near the water’s edge. They are opportunistic feeders and will consume whatever is available in their habitat. While it’s possible that an alligator might consume a coyote if the opportunity arises (for example, if a coyote approaches the water’s edge), it’s not a common occurrence and is not a typical part of their diet.

Golden eagles as predators of coyotes

Golden eagles sitting on a branch, waiting for young coyote pups

Golden eagles are powerful raptors known for their hunting prowess. While they primarily prey on a variety of smaller animals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, birds, and occasionally larger prey like deer fawns or young ungulates, predation on adult coyotes is generally not a common occurrence.

Coyotes are adaptable and agile predators, and they are less likely to be targeted by golden eagles due to their larger size and ability to evade airborne threats. Golden eagles might target coyote pups or juveniles in cases where they are more vulnerable and less capable of defending themselves.

Human beings as a predator of the coyote

A hunter aiming gun at a coyote

Human beings can indeed be predators of coyotes through various means. However, it’s important to note that human interactions with coyotes are complex and can involve a range of attitudes and actions, from intentional hunting to unintentional consequences of human development and activities.

Overall, human-coyote interactions are shaped by a combination of factors, including human attitudes, land use patterns, legal regulations, and ecological considerations. The approach to managing these interactions can vary widely and often involves balancing the needs and interests of both humans and wildlife.

Wolverines as predators of coyotes

Wolverines generally are not predators of coyotes

Wolverines are large and powerful members of the Weasel family, known for their strength and tenacity. They inhabit northern boreal and mountainous regions across North America, Europe, and Asia. While wolverines primarily feed on a diet of carrion, small mammals, birds, and other prey, predation on adult coyotes is not a typical behavior of wolverines.

Interactions between wolverines and coyotes are more likely to involve competition for shared resources, such as carrion or small prey items. Wolverines and coyotes might encounter each other while scavenging or foraging, but direct predation of one species on the other does not normally happens.

What eats coyotes in the desert?

In desert ecosystems, coyotes are often near the top of the food chain and face fewer natural predators compared to other environments. However, some species can potentially prey on coyotes or their young in desert regions. Some potential predators of coyotes in desert environments are mountain lions, bobcats, golden eagles, raptors, and human beings.

What dog can kill a coyote?

What dog can kill a coyote?

Coyotes are wild animals that have evolved to survive in their natural habitats, and they can be quite formidable opponents for domestic dogs. Most dog breeds, even large and powerful ones, would be at a disadvantage in a direct confrontation with a healthy adult coyote. Some larger and more powerful dog breeds might have a better chance in a confrontation with a coyote, but this doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to win.

Can a Doberman kill a coyote?

A Doberman is a large and strong dog breed that has been historically used for guarding, protection, and even police work. While Dobermans are powerful and can be protective, the outcome of a confrontation between a Doberman and a coyote would depend on various factors such as size, strength, training, temperament, health, wild instincts, etc.

Can a rottweiler kill a coyote?

Rottweilers are known for their strength and protective instincts, the outcome of a potential confrontation between a Rottweiler and a coyote is highly unpredictable. Coyotes are wild animals. It is extremely difficult to deal with these animals with the help of dogs. But if the dogs outnumber them in the form of size, strength, viciousness, fierceness, and training, then they may undermine them.

Can a German shepherd kill a coyote?

A German Shepherd is a large and versatile dog breed known for its intelligence, strength, and loyalty. While it’s possible that a German Shepherd could potentially kill a coyote under certain circumstances, it depends upon various factors that play a role in such interactions.

Frequently asked questions

Coyotes face a range of potential threats and challenges in their natural environment, but their biggest enemy can vary depending on factors such as location, habitat, and ecological dynamics. In many regions, humans are often considered one of the biggest threats to coyotes due to factors like habitat destruction, hunting, and urbanization. However, in terms of natural predators, adult coyotes have several potential predators and competitors like mountain lions, wolves, bears, golden eagles, etc.

Coyotes are not at the very top of the food chain in most ecosystems where they reside. Apex predators are those that have few or no natural predators themselves and play a significant role in regulating the populations of other species in their ecosystem.

While coyotes are predators themselves and have a considerable impact on their environment, they still have some natural predators and face competition from other predators. In many ecosystems, coyotes occupy middle to upper-middle positions in the food chain.

Coyotes are known to be opportunistic omnivores, meaning they have a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. While coyotes typically don’t exhibit cannibalistic behavior as a regular part of their diet, there have been documented cases of coyotes consuming the remains of other coyotes. However, such instances are relatively rare and are usually associated with specific circumstances.


Coyotes, as adaptable and resourceful predators, have few natural enemies, but they are not immune to the pressures of their environment and their predators. The intricate relationships between coyotes and their predators like mountain lions, wolves, grizzly bears, and humans, illustrate the dynamic balance that exists in nature. These animals are the main coyote predators in nature. These animals have an upper edge over coyotes in terms of their size, strength, fierceness, power, wild instincts, etc. In this article, we have explained in detail how these animals overpower the coyotes and how could other animals like dogs could interact with wild animals like coyotes.

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