What Eats a Coyote: The Most Common Coyote Predators

what eats a coyote

Formidable predators that eat coyote, include grizzly bears, lynxes, cougars, wolves, mountain lions, alligators, eagles, and even other coyotes. While rare, some humans may also hunt and cook coyotes.

One may reasonably imagine that an animal like the coyote would be free from enemies, living as a predator at the top of the food chain—however, this isn’t the case.

Despite feasting on mammals as large as deer, coyotes are still preyed upon by several different animals. Let’s learn more about some of the most common coyote predators.

Coyote Predators: The Animals That Eat Coyotes

Here’s a list of the most common coyote predators:

  • Brown bear
  • Lynx
  • Cougar
  • Wolf
  • Alligator
  • Eagle
  • Other coyotes

What Eats a Coyote?

Read below in detail all about these vicious predators. Here we review the advantages and adaptations these various animals utilize to prey on coyotes:

Browns bear

Brown bears are large, ferocious predators known to feast on coyotes. Grizzly bears, a subspecies of brown bears, can weigh up to 600 kg and are particularly dangerous to coyotes in northwest North America and southwest Canada.

These large creatures will use their massive size and strength to overpower the coyote, crushing it with a swat of their paw or killing it with a bite to the neck. Brown bears don’t actively seek coyotes to eat.

Brown bears typically indulge in a plant heavy, omnivorous diet. However, they will kill and eat coyotes under certain circumstances and if the opportunity arises.

coyote vs bear


Not to be confused with a bobcat, the lynx is a medium-sized wildcat that specializes in preying on small to medium-sized animals. They’re also one of the most common coyote predators, relying on their quick reflexes and sharp claws to take down their prey.

The lynx’s predatory approach is unique compared to other opportunists on this list. Rather than chasing down their prey, they will silently stalk their target until they’re within range.

They also frequently make use of hunting beds or areas where they can lay in wait. A lynx will do this stealthily and patiently waiting for the right moment to pounce.


Part of the large Felidae family, the cougar is a large wildcat with tawny-beige fur that’s native to the Americas. They’re also commonly called the mountain lion, puma, or panther.

Native to the Americas, this powerful ambush predator is known to hunt a wide variety of small mammals. While they prefer eating deer and other ungulates, they will also kill and eat coyotes, especially ones that have strayed too far from their main pack.


Gray wolves are the largest member of the Canidae family and one of the top predators for coyotes. These large carnivores are known to hunt in packs, using their exceptional teamwork and coordination to take down their prey.

While a lone coyote typically avoids confrontation with wolves whenever possible, wolves often strike when the coyote least expects it. This usually happens when coyotes are out scavenging or venture too close to Wolf territory. That said, coyotes may fight back if they’re in a pack, which can be quite gruesome for both parties.

However, one-on-one, coyotes are no match for wolves in terms of sheer strength. A wolf can weigh as much as 70 to 150 pounds, whereas a coyote only weighs 18 to 45 pounds. A wolf will typically overpower a coyote in a fight.

coyote vs wolf
Coyote (Left) vs Wolf (Right)


In wetland areas, alligators are the undisputed king of the food chain. The largest of these reptiles, particularly the American Alligator, can grow to be 20 feet long and weigh more than 1,230 pounds.

Alligators typically eat fish but aren’t afraid to hunt larger prey. This includes unsuspecting animals like coyotes who try to drink from rivers or streams.

When they go after a coyote, they use their powerful jaws to crush it and their long, sharp claws to tear it apart. If the force of the initial attack doesn’t kill the coyote outright, the alligator will drown it.

Golden Eagle

The golden eagle can have a remarkable wingspan of up to 7.5 feet and weigh up to 14 pounds, thus making it one of North America’s largest birds of prey. These eagles typically eat small rodents, hares, and other small to medium-sized mammals. They’ve also been documented to eat larger animals like coyotes as carrion.

Usually found in Alaska and Canada, the golden eagle relies on its vision to spot coyotes in the wild, carcasses, or otherwise. Once they spot one, these birds of prey use their powerful talons to make quick work of live coyotes.


Coyotes have been known to turn on their own kind when there’s a shortage of food. Their opportunistic behavior knows no bounds, but they’re more likely to go after the corpses of other coyote populations.

That said, there are only rare instances when a coyote will exhibit cannibalistic behavior. This happens when a coyote is desperate for food, such as during a famine or the frigid winter months.

coyote sitting in tall grass with dandelions near a tree trunk

Are Coyotes Intelligent?

Yes, coyotes are intelligent and cunning omnivores. Their ability to dispatch prey without leaving a trace helps hide their tracks against potential predators.

Their keen sense of smell and good vision also allows them to sense potential danger and escape before they’re harmed. But coyotes are by no means an apex predator.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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