May 25, 2024

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Dog or Coyote?

Now that there’s some snow on the ground your most likely to come across some canine tracks on your hikes. The question is, do they belong to a domestic dog or a coyote? There are clues to telling the difference with just a little observation. First the tracks themselves, are they meandering around or traveling in a fairly straight line. Coyotes travel with a purpose, a destination to get to whether it’s water, denning or in search of prey and are usually traveling alone. Dogs on the other hand meander here to there with a more zig zagging trail pattern as they investigate every little thing that peaks their curiosity.
A coyote’s individual track will measure from 2 to 2.5 inches long and is consistent among individuals. The shape of their tracks are oblong, narrow with the two middle toes being the same length. If you were to take a stick you would be able to draw a clear uninterrupted diagonal line from just outside the two middle toes down to the opposite side of the heel pad. Domestic dogs on the other hand are variable in size and their toe pads will not show a clear uninterrupted diagonal line drawn to the opposite side of the heel pad. Domestic dogs tracks will also have more rounded dull claw marks. The front track of a coyote is also slightly larger than it’s back track. If you happen to come across some scat in the trail then figuring out whose track that was will be a no brainer. If there is hair, bones or seeds in the scat then you most definately are following a coyotes tracks.     Happy Hiking!!


  1. Great blog & pic!

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