Of What Use is the Coyote’s Beautiful Coat?

Scientists, particularly biologists, are constantly asking why something is the way that it is. Why does the coyote look the way that it does? How does their fur help them survive and pass on successful genes?

A coyote’s pelt contains an impressive array of colors, mixing together black, white, tan, gray, and varying shades of reddish brown. While they aren’t ambush predators, a coat consisting of various colors helps break up an animal’s outline, which is particularly effective for predators who don’t want to be seen by their prey from afar.

Those colors tend to match the coyote’s regional surroundings, with darker coats found on coyotes in colder, more forested areas, and redder/browner coats on coyotes that live in scrub or desert regions, though they’ll always mimic earthier tones for more camouflage. The same goes for how thick a coyote’s coat is; as one might imagine, Nevada’s more southerly coyotes have relatively thin pelts.

While not as bold or striking as spots or stripes, the coyote’s multi-colored coat serves two very important purposes: helping it keep a (relatively) low profile, and keeping warm!

Aaron Huelsman

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