What animals kill coyotes?

Coyote crouched

While coyotes are considered a predator high up in the food chain, they can still become prey themselves. A variety of other animals have been known to kill and even eat coyotes. Some of these animals include wolves, mountain lions, bears, alligators, and eagles. Not all predators will take on the task of killing coyotes, but most will take advantage of an injured or already killed one as a source of food.


Wolf snarling

Wolves, being closely related to coyotes may not seem like a likely predator of the coyote, but they tend to be one of their biggest dangers. This is obviously only true in areas where wolves are present. Coyotes can be found in a wide range of habitats and not everywhere that has coyote populations will also have wolves.

Wolves are quite a bit larger than their coyote cousins. Male coyotes may get up to 50 pounds or so, but a male wolf can easily weigh up to 180 pounds. This is one reason that coyotes tend to avoid wolves whenever possible. Wolves will kill coyotes, mainly for territorial reasons, but will also eat them. Coyotes may try to scavenge an animal that wolves have killed while they are away, but if one comes back or catches them, they will likely be attacked and even killed.

Mountain Lions

Mountain lion snarling

Much like the wolf, the mountain lion can be another deadly predator to the coyote. Mountain lions have been known to kill and eat a coyote. Many times, this may start as a territory dispute or a dispute over a mountain lions kill. The coyote may try to scavenge the kill and the coyote won’t stand much of a chance if caught. Mountain lions can weigh as much as 220 pounds and have incredible strength, along with razor sharp claws.


Grizzly bear in forest

Grizzley and black bears can and will kill and eat a coyote. While bears typically don’t kill a coyote for a food source, they are an opportunistic animal. If there is a fight between a bear and a coyote over food, the bear will attempt to kill the coyote. Another altercation that may occur is due to a bear’s cubs. Coyotes have gone after cubs and if unlucky may face the wrath of an upset mother bear.

Black bears can easily weigh 300 pounds, while a grizzly can reach 1500 pounds. Couple this massive size with their bite strength and long sharp claws and they can inflict major damage on other animals, including coyotes.


Alligator on land

While alligators may not come to the top of your mind when thinking of predators to a coyote, they do make the list. Alligators can reach incredible sizes, weighing over 1000 pounds and exceeding 14 feet in length. While alligators will primarily go after smaller mammals, fish, and birds, they are also opportunistic eaters, like many other predators. If a coyote happens to cross close to an alligator’s path, it would be a quick end for the coyote.An alligators bite force is amongst the top 10 and it has surprising speed for such a large creature.


Golden Eagle flying

Some eagles, especially golden eagles have been known to attack other predators and animals larger than them. While a coyote is no exception, it doesn’t occur regularly. It would be more likely for an eagle to attack and snatch a young coyote pup. It is also much more common for eagles to feed on an already dead coyote. Eagles will scavenge killed animals just like many other predators. Many times, coyotes will be struck and killed by vehicles and eagles will come along and feed on the easy meal.

This type of scavenging is very common with a wide range of different animals. It is also common to see other birds such as hawks and turkey vultures feeding on dead animals. Basically, any opportunistic predator is likely to feed on a dead coyote if they happen upon one.


Humans are one of coyote’s main threats. Humans hunt and trap coyotes for their fur and to help control population sizes. Humans also contribute to coyote deaths unintentionally by roadway accidents. Hundreds of thousands of coyotes are killed by humans every year. This is controversial, with some believing it is barbaric while others believe it is necessary to keep balance to the ecosystem and protect livestock.


An animal many people don’t realize can be a threat to coyotes are donkeys. Donkeys are often enlisted by ranchers and livestock owners to help protect their herds from predators. Donkeys can be extremely aggressive when threatened and do a fantastic job as a guardian. When a coyote or other predator enters the farm boundaries the donkey will let out a noise known as a bray. This will alert other animals of the danger and attempt to scare the predator off.

If the coyote doesn’t retreat, then the donkey will charge and attempt to bite and stomp the coyote. If the coyote or other predator refuses to retreat, then they run the risk of being killed by the donkey.

Final Thoughts

Coyotes are predators to many small animals but can also become prey themselves. Many predators to coyotes often kill for reasons other than food, such as territory disputes, but will often eat them after killing them. There are a wide variety of other animals that may not necessarily kill a coyote very often but will take advantage of an easy meal if they find a dead coyote to scavenge on.

Mindy Russel
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