Canis latrans

Coyote are one of the most adaptive wild canids on earth. Due to human caused alteration of natural habitat and aggressive predator controls, coyotes have rapidly expanded their range from the central plains of the United States to all 49 continental states, and most of Canada and Central America. Unlike wolves, coyotes exhibit phenotypic, behavioral and diet plasticity, and thus, are highly adaptive to changing landscape, and able to persist and thrive even in urbanized environments. Today, coyotes are common and widespread in the Eastern United States.


Length: 0.7-0.9 m (2.5 to 2.8 ft)

Weight: 7-23 kg (15 to 50 lbs)

Conservation Status: Least concern

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The Northern Blue Ridge and Northern Piedmont comprise a predominantly privately owned, rural landscape with a significant proportion of land use designated to livestock management (cattle, horses, sheep and goats).

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is located on the border of Rappahannock County, Fauquier County, and Warren County, and combined with the adjacent Shenandoah National Park, the federal land serves as an ideal corridor for coyotes to move between the two regions.

Smithsonian scientists are studying movement ecology of the coyote population utilizing SCBI and the nearby landscape. The findings from this research will provide SCBI land managers and researchers valuable insight into the relationship between coyotes and prey species in a unique ecological setting. Furthermore, better understanding about how coyotes move in a patchwork landscape of public and private lands where land use, human interaction, and hunting pressure varies from property to property will help landowners making informed management decisions pertaining to predator species, and may prove useful to rural landowners beyond the study area.

Meet the Team

John McEvoy, Ph.D.

Conservation Biologist
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)
Conservation Ecology Center

Jared Stabach, Ph.D.

Ecologist, MoL Program Coordinator
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)
Conservation Ecology Center
National Zoological Park