Coywolves Are Taking Over Eastern North America

People living in Eastern Canada and U.S. are probably familiar with the smart, adaptable wild canine that lives in their forests, neighborhood parks and even cities. What they may not know is that eastern coyotes aren’t true coyotes at all. “Coywolves,” as they’re called, are actually coyote-wolf hybrids. Emerging over the last century or so, they have since spread successfully over much of eastern North America. As deforestation, hunting and poisoning depleted the population numbers of eastern wolves, they interbred with western coyotes. The hybrid is about 55 pounds heavier than pure coyotes, with longer legs, a larger jaw, smaller ears, and a bushier tail. Coyotes dislike hunting in forests, while wolves prefer it. Interbreeding has produced an animal skilled at catching prey in both open terrain and densely wooded areas, and even their cries blend those of their ancestors. The first part of a howl resembles a wolf’s (with a deep pitch), but this then turns into a higher-pitched, coyote-like yipping. At least 20 coywolves live in New York City, and others have been spotted in Washington DC, Boston and Philadelphia.