If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of a wild dog roaming your area, chances are it’s a fox or, depending on where you live, a coyote. The coyote is a special type of wild dog of this genus. Canis; he is closely related to wolves, dogs and jackals. Fox, on the other hand, is defined as any species within several different genera, including Woolpes, Lycalopex, as well as urocyon…
This means that the coyote is fairly uniform in shape and color, while the fox has a much greater degree of physical variation. It includes everything from the snow-white arctic fox to the desert-eared fennec fox. But a keen-sighted person should be able to quite easily distinguish between a fox and a coyote. You just need to know which features to look out for.
Comparison of fox and coyote
Here’s a quick rundown of the main differences between a fox and a coyote.
|Length||1 to 3 feet (5 feet with tail included)||3 to 4.5 feet (over 5 feet with tail)|
|Weight||2 to 30 lbs. (From 1 to 14 kg)||15 to 50 lbs. (7 to 23 kg)|
|Color||Red, gray, brown, black, white, silver, etc.||Reddish brown or gray|
|Distribution||around the world||North America|
|Body||Long body, short legs and large ears in relation to size||Muscular body, shorter legs and ears in relation to overall size|
5 key differences between foxes and coyotes
How can a non-wildlife trained layman tell a fox from a coyote? Location is generally the easiest way. If you live outside of North America, you are almost certainly dealing with a fox, because coyotes have a limited range. But if you live in North America, identification becomes much more difficult. You can usually rely on these five basic physical characteristics or behaviors to tell the difference.
Fox vs Coyote: Body Size
Because of its wolf origin, the coyote is, on average, much larger and more muscular than a fox. It usually exceeds 3 feet in length and 2 feet in height. Even the largest fox species, the red fox, cannot match the size of an adult coyote. Its body is less than 3 feet long and 20 inches high. The fox also has much shorter legs and a more tubular body. Many species of foxes are not much larger than normal domestic cats, although their thick fur usually makes them appear larger than they actually are.
Fox vs Coyote: Coat Color
Coyote usually comes in a variety of shades of gray with splashes of red on the sides. On the other hand, the color of a fox’s coat always varies from species to species. The most common coat colors are red, gray, silver and tan. While you might be tempted to believe that the red fox is easily identifiable by its rusty-red coat color, you should keep in mind that this species also has several different color morphs, including gray, silver, and black-brown. The gray coloration of the red fox and gray fox (a completely separate species from the red fox) is probably the easiest to mistake for a coyote by accident.
Fox vs. Coyote: Tail
The fox has a long fluffy tail, almost the same as the body itself. Sometimes it ends with a white or black tip. You may notice that the tail tends to hang in the air as the fox runs. The coyote has a shorter tail compared to its body size and has a tendency to droop when the coyote runs. Plus, it’s not as fluffy as a fox’s tail.
Fox vs. Coyote: Life Structure and Social Behavior
The coyote, although not as social and gregarious as the wolf, is also a beast of burden, living with several other family members and sometimes non-family members. Mating season is the only time a coyote volunteers to use the den. Otherwise, they sleep and rest above the ground. The fox, by contrast, is a solitary animal outside the breeding season, sometimes sharing its territory with other members of its family. He lives in a den or burrow with a network of tunnels and specific cameras.
Fox vs Coyote: Vocalizations
Coyotes are some of the loudest wild dogs in the world. They can be recognized by their long mournful wolf howls, rising and falling in height, sometimes interspersed with yelping, squealing and barking. The fox, on the other hand, makes some howling sounds, but it is most easily identified by a shrill howl or shrill sound. They look very little like a wolf or a dog.
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Fox vs Coyote – 5 Key Differences, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How to tell a fox from a coyote?
The easiest way to identify them is their size and body shape. The coyote has a much larger size, longer legs, a more muscular body, and a thinner tail. The fox, on the other hand, has shorter legs, a smaller body, and a fluffy tail. It also exhibits a much wider range of coat colors, including white, silver, gray, tan and strong orange-red. By their behavior, foxes are more solitary. They tend to live in dens more often and emit a piercing howl. Finally, if all else fails, location is a good indicator. Coyotes do not live outside of North America.
Which is heavier, a fox or a coyote?
The coyote is much heavier than the fox. A typical coyote weighs up to 50 pounds. The heaviest specimen ever known weighed about 75 pounds. In contrast, most foxes weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. The heaviest fox ever known weighed about 38 pounds.
How to distinguish fox feces from coyote feces?
Coyote feces are usually large, smooth, and may taper at one end. It can also contain small pieces of bone or hair from larger prey.