University of Maryland Extension




One may not think of coyotes living in Maryland, but they now can be found statewide. Populations are highest in the western part of the State and are lower on the eastern shore. Fossil records indicate their presence here in prehistoric eras. They appear to have vanished at least 1,000 years ago. Because of this, the immigration of the coyote in Maryland does not represent a return of a species once present during historic times. Rather, it is considered a new species in the East. They actually were present in the east at one time but were pushed out by development. Coyotes resemble a small collie dog and are predominantly gray. There is some color variation from nearly black to red or nearly white. Coyotes have adapted to virtually every type of natural habitat, including man's. They are primarily carnivorous but will also eat fruit and scavenge on carrion. Coyotes breed in February and March, producing litters of 5 to 7 pups, in April and May. They will hybridize with domestic dogs and wolves. Coyote dens are found in steep banks, rock crevices, and underbrush.

It is unlikely that Maryland homeowners will see a coyote, as their occurrence now is very spotty. It is hoped that their immigration into Maryland may help balance the deer population. Coyotes can be a problem to owners of small livestock such as sheep, goats and fowl. As they move into suburban areas they may possibly attack domestic pets. Numerous control methods are available for controlling coyotes. If you are having a problem with coyotes you can contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for additional information.

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