Literature Research on Three Unique Aspects of the Canis Latrans

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The Canis Latrans species has several classifications. Three of them are:

1- According to Baker (1983), Canis Latrans is an animal. It is a member of the Kingdom Animalia, also called Metazoa. The Canis Latrans is multicellular and is a heterotroph (relies on other organisms for nourishment and nutrition). The cells of all animals, including the Canis Latrans, do not have rigid cell walls. The species is made up of cells organized into various tissues. Each tissue performs specific functions. Like most other animals, the Canis Latrans reproduces sexually. There are approximately nine to ten millions species of animals that inhabit this planet, and the Canis Latrans is one of them.

2- The Canis Latrans is a chordate. A chordate is an organism that possesses a structure called a notochord. This is a rod that extends most of the length of the body when it is fully developed. Other characteristics of chordates include bilateral symmetry, a segmented body, ventral heart, with dorsal and ventral blood vessels and a closed blood system, as well as a complete digestive system.

3- The Canis Latrans are carnivores. 90% of their diet is mammalian. They primarily eat small mammals, some of which include eastern cottontail rabbits, white-footed mice, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels. When they hunt for food, coyotes sometimes form hunting partnerships with badgers. As a team, there is little hope for prey in the area. The distance covered in an average night’s hunting is 4km. These adaptable animals will eat almost anything. They hunt rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, and even deer. They also happily dine on insects, milk snakes, fruit, grass, and carrion. Because they sometimes kill lambs, calves, or other livestock, as well as pets, many ranchers and farmers regard them as destructive pests. They are often feared by children all over the world.


1- Geographically speaking, coyotes are among the most adaptable mammals in North America. Say (1823) found that they have enormous geographical distribution and are seen in all sorts of diverse ecological settings. They even make their home in suburbs, towns, and cities.

2- Timm et al. (2004) found that modern coyotes have displayed their cleverness by adapting to the changing American landscape. These members of the dog family once lived primarily in open prairies and deserts, but now roam the continent's forests and mountains. Canis Latrans are also seen throughout the deserts in California.

3- According to Living with “Urban Coyotes” (2012), the Coyote has a wide distribution throughout North America, Mexico and into Central America. They are abundant throughout their range and are increasing in distribution as humans continue to modify the landscape. The species is very versatile, especially in their ability to exploit human-modified environments. In North America, coyote populations are stable, even increasing in some areas - making them one of the world's most dangerous animals.


I will discuss survival rates, habitat selection, and predatory relationships.

1- Survival Rates. According to Banfield (1974), Canis Latrans have become very common in the metropolitan areas of the United States. Annual survival estimates for Canis Latrans in the Tucson and Los Angeles area are similar. The species is more likely to be hunted in rural areas. Living with “Urban Coyotes” (2012) found that vehicle collisions are a common source of mortality.

2- Habitat Selection. Canis Latrans do maintain territories within the urban matrix. There is, however, a trend for coyotes to avoid developed areas, such as residential areas. However, some studies suggest that coyote use or avoidance of developed areas may vary seasonally. There is an increase in urban use during the night.

3- Predatory Relationships. According to Fox (1975), Canis Latrans are very secretive animals. Near human habitations, the species is active mostly early in the morning and late in the evening. When the Canis Latrans is newly born or very young, their parents keep them in or very near the den so they aren’t killed by predators (such as humans) and competitors (such as wolves and mountain lions). The grey wolf is a significant predator of coyotes wherever their ranges overlap. Cougars have also been known to hunt coyotes. Nowak (1983) found that in very rare cases, bears even attack coyotes. Coyotes initiate the majority of aggressive encounters between red foxes and coyotes. As stated earlier, coyotes hunt with badgers. Because coyotes are not very effective at digging rodents out of their burrows, they will chase the animals while they are above ground. Coyotes form strong family groups. In spring, females den and give birth to litters of three to twelve pups. Both parents feed and protect their young and their territory. The pups are able to hunt on their own by the following fall.


Baker, Rollin H. 1983. Michigan Mammals. Michigan State University Press, Detroit, pg: 390-399.

Banfield, A.W.F. 1974. Mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto and Buffalo, pg: 286-289.

Fox, M.W. 1975. The Wild Canids: Their Systematics, Behavioral Ecology and Evolution. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, London and Melbourne, pg: 247-262.

Living with “Urban Coyotes”. 2012. Animal Services: Make Living Your Mission. Mission Viejo.

NMNH. (n.d.). Canis latrans. Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from

Nowak, Ronald M. and John L. Paradiso. 1983. Walkers Mammals of the World. 4th Ed. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, pg: 949-951.

Kays, R.W. and D.E. Wilson. 2002. Mammals of North America. Princeton University Press.

Say, T., 1823. Account of an expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky. Philadelphia. Vol 1, pg 168.

Timm, R.M., R.O. Baker, J.R. Bennett, & C.C. Coolahan. 2004. Coyote Attacks: An Increasing Suburban Problem. Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. 69:67-68.