How easy it is to tell a male coyote from a female depends on how close you are to the animal. Coyotes are closely related to domestic dogs, like their cousins some physical and behavioral differences separate the genders. However, coyotes lack obvious characteristics, such as the manes of male lions or the feathers of peacocks, which are easy to see from a distance. You also are unlikely to be able to inspect the animal as closely as you could a pet dog. An educated guess based on more subtle features is possible. A pair of binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens might help you form a more accurate guess.
How the animal behaves with pups does not tell you whether it is male or female. Both parents play their part in feeding and caring for the pups after weaning. Prior to weaning, the mother and pups stay in sheltered dens that are well out of sight and reach of predators, including humans.
Compare the sizes of the coyotes, if more than one is visible. Mature male coyotes are slightly bigger and heavier than the females. A typical pack consists of one mature male and one mature female coyote, along with their offspring.
Observe the animal’s behavior. Females come into heat between January and March. You may witness mating, in which case distinguishing the genders is easy. The male mounts the female.
Inspect the animal’s genitalia, if you have the opportunity. If the coyote is dead, tranquillized for tagging or in a zoo, you can get confirmation on gender. Male coyotes have visible male genitals and females have nipples.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images