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What’s the Difference Between Coyotes and Wolves? This Wildlife Video Shows Who’s the Apex Predator

When it comes to wild canines, telling the difference between coyotes and wolves is a common issue. Many people mistake the smaller coyote for its larger cousin, the wolf. However, when the two meet in the wild, there’s no mistaking which is which.

Recently, a guide service in Yellowstone National Park captured a video of scavengers tearing up an animal carcass. Initially, this includes a coyote. However, seconds later, a wolf appears and sends all the scavengers running.

Check it out:

Size is definitely a factor in the difference between coyotes and wolves. This video does a great job showing this. The wolf looks absolutely massive in comparison. 

In the clip, multiple birds and a coyote are chowing down on the remains of an animal. Eventually, a wolf slowly emerges out of the brush in the background and charges into the scene, sending all the birds and the timid coyote running.

“If you’re not the top dog, you’d better keep your head on a swivel,” the guide service wrote in the post. “I lost count years ago how many times I’ve witnessed this scene in Yellowstone. The avian eruption off a carcass as an apex predator charges in, is one of my favorite moments.”

According to wildlife officials, coyotes grow to be 22 to 40 pounds, while a gray wolf can weigh 175 pounds. 

Besides size, location can also be a factor. There are way more coyotes across the U.S. and they can be found in every state except for Hawaii. Meanwhile, efforts to reintroduce gray wolves have helped rebuild their numbers, but the animal can only mostly be found in the West. That is with the exception of some areas around the Great Lakes like northern Michigan and Minnesota.

So, in many areas you can rule out seeing a wolf at all.

Finally, another distinguishing difference between coyotes and wolves are their faces. Wolves have a broader snout and rounded ears, while coyotes generally have tall pointed ears.

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