Mearns Coyote (Canis latrans mearnsi)


Mearns Coyote in the mountains
WildMediaSK / Envato

The Mearns coyote, scientifically known as Canis latrans mearnsi, is a subspecies of the coyote (Canis latrans) native to North America. It is characterized by its smaller size compared to its close relative, the wolf, and is slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf. The Mearns coyote plays a vital role in North American ecosystems, contributing to the balance of predator-prey dynamics and exhibiting unique behavioral and ecological characteristics.


Mearns Coyote
Lifeonwhite / Envato

The Mearns coyote shares many physical traits with other coyote subspecies, including a slender build, pointed ears, and a bushy, black-tipped tail. It is distinguished by its grayish-brown fur, often with a tawny hue, and a lighter-colored underbelly. This subspecies typically exhibits a variation in coat coloration, which may include patches of white or black. These features set it apart from other coyote subspecies and contribute to its distinct appearance within the Canis latrans species.


Mearns Coyote looking up
Lifeonwhite / Envato

The Mearns coyote is primarily found in the southwestern United States, particularly in regions of Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Mexico. It also inhabits areas of Texas and California. This subspecies demonstrates adaptability to a range of habitats within these regions, from arid deserts to semi-forested areas. Despite facing habitat fragmentation and human encroachment, the Mearns coyote has displayed resilience in maintaining its population density within its native range.

Habitat Preferences

The Mearns coyote thrives in diverse ecosystems, including desert scrublands, grasslands, and chaparral. It demonstrates remarkable adaptability to human-altered landscapes, often inhabiting agricultural areas and urban fringes. This subspecies is known for its ability to coexist with human development, utilizing available resources while navigating anthropogenic pressures. The adaptability of the Mearns coyote to varied habitats contributes to its survival and well-being, highlighting its ecological flexibility and resilience.

Overall, the Mearns coyote, Canis latrans mearnsi, represents a fascinating and integral component of North American wildlife, embodying the adaptability and resourcefulness characteristic of the Canis genus. Its presence in diverse ecosystems underscores the importance of conservation efforts aimed at preserving the ecological balance and biodiversity of its native habitats.

Facts About Mearns coyote

  • The Mearns coyote (Canis latrans mearnsi) is a subspecies of coyote native to the Southwestern United States.
  • It is found in southwestern Colorado, extreme southern Utah and Nevada, southeastern California, northeastern Baja California, Arizona, and west of Texas.
  • Mearns coyotes have a varied diet, including small mammals, birds, insects, and plant matter.
  • They are known for their adaptability and can thrive in a variety of habitats, from deserts to forests.
  • Mearns coyotes are solitary animals, but they may form small packs for hunting or mating.
  • The average lifespan of a Mearns coyote is around 10-14 years in the wild.
  • They are smaller than their close relative, the gray wolf, and slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf.
  • Mearns coyotes play a crucial role in controlling small mammal populations, which helps maintain ecosystem balance.
  • They are known for their distinctive vocalizations, including howls, yips, and barks, which are used for communication and territory marking.
  • Mearns coyotes are highly adaptable and have successfully expanded their range in response to human-induced changes in the environment.

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