Canis latrans

The coyote belongs to the dog family and resembles a small, slightly built German shepherd, 3 to 4 feet long. The hair and ears of the coyote are longer and its tracks show that the claws toe in more than those of a domestic dog. The coyote's shaggy coat is gray or tawny colored, dark on top and paler underneath.

Coyotes were once widespread but now are generally restricted to eastern parts of the Sacramento region. Ruthless hunting and indiscriminate poisoning have greatly reduced their numbers. Coyotes will occasionally attack young sheep or newborn calves; however, in spite or this, many ranchers feel that a coyote's value as a predator of rodents and rabbits outweighs any harm it might do. Coyotes usually hunt alone or in pairs. Sometimes more will join in a pack to hunt larger game. In these cases, the pack will generally capture weak or injured animals. Because coyotes also eat carrion, they are sometimes accused of killing animals when they are really performing a useful scavenging job.

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