Fox Vs Coyote | How to Tell Them Apart | All Things Foxes (2024)

Foxes and coyotes are both members of the Canidae family. Because they are both wild canids, it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart. We’ve put this guide together to help you figure out if the wild canid in your area is a fox or a coyote.

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Fox Vs Coyote

Quick Answer: Coyotes are larger and taller than foxes. Coyotes have much longer limbs, snout and ears. The coyote has dog-like face and generally much bigger than a fox.

Foxes have bushier tails and weigh less than coyotes. Coyotes have a scruffy-looking gray or brown coat, while foxes have a wide variety of colors. Foxes have larger, pointier ears, and shorter legs than a coyote. Coyotes can be found in packs or pairs, while foxes tend to be solitary.

Foxes and coyotes are two of the most widely dispersed wild canids in the world. In many places, their paths cross, so it makes sense that someone may have trouble telling them apart. Luckily, there are traits of each that make identifying them easier.

Fox Description

To tell these two canids apart, you will need to know what each one of them looks like. The fox is much smaller than the coyote. Your average red fox weighs around 10-15 pounds. This is about the same as a large housecat.

Foxes have slightly pointier ears than coyotes, however, both have very large pointy ears. The fox’s tail is larger than a coyote’s tail and bushier. Most foxes have vertical pupils, much like cats. They are the only canids in the world to have vertical pupils.

Fox Vs Coyote | How to Tell Them Apart | All Things Foxes (1)

Foxes come in many shapes and sizes. Gray foxes may look more like coyotes because they have similar colors, but coyotes are much larger. For more about what foxes look like, view our article here.

What Does a Coyote Look Like?

Coyotes are almost twice as large as the average fox. The coyote’s fur has more gray or brown color to it. Sometimes it can look rusty-colored. Their underbellies are a lighter color and their ears usually have some black fur around the edges. Coyotes have a wide muzzle, while foxes have slimmer muzzles.

The average coyote is 3.5 by 4.5 feet long, while foxes are only about 1.5 to 3 feet long. Most coyotes have smaller tails, with black tips. Coyotes are slender, you probably won’t see a really fat one in the wild. They have long slender legs, much longer than foxes.

Fox Vs Coyote | How to Tell Them Apart | All Things Foxes (2)

The colors of the coyote can vary, which can make it hard to differentiate between these canids. There are gray, brown, black, and even reddish-colored coyotes. The main difference is the size of the two animals.

Fox Vs Coyote Sounds

These two animals make different sounds. The coyote has a screeching howl, while the fox has a wide variety of different noises. With coyotes, you will most likely hear multiple coyotes howling off in the distance since they live in packs. Coyotes have a few different sounds as well, such as barks, yips, and yaps.

You might hear two foxes talking as well, but with many different noises. The fox makes noises that sound like yelps, screeches, screams, and more. You might hear a fox, and think you’re hearing someone scream bloody murder! Their noises are quite interesting.

Both animals have high-pitched sounds, but the coyotes are much longer, while foxes are mostly short bursts. Each animal has different calls that mean different things. One screech might mean, hey, we’re waiting on our food. While another might be a call that danger is near.

Do Coyotes Have a Den?

Much like foxes, coyotes also have dens. They make their dens under large boulders, and in places where they can dig deep down. They are very adaptable and can be found close to civilization. This can be a pain for homeowners, who worry about their pets being outside at night.

Foxes also have dens, and many times the territory of the two animals will overlap. This can cause territorial disputes between the two. Both animals mark their dens and home-range with urine. Both animals have scent glands in their paws and will rub the ground and rocks, giving off their scent.

This leaves both scent and visual markings, that let other animals know that they are in the territory. The dens of the coyote are abandoned once the pups are born. The males avoid the dens and pups while they are being raised. Which can harm their survival rate.

Fox Vs Coyote Feces

Fox feces and coyote feces look similar but are usually different in size. The feces or scat of a fox is usually around two inches long, while coyote scat is up to 4 inches long. Both animal’s feces contain animal hairs and can look white.

Because they both eat many of the same things and have a very similar diet, you can find berries, hair, bones, and more in their feces. The feces of both animals have pointy, twisted ends. This is from the fur of the animals that they eat. This can help them digest sharp bones by wrapping them in fur, making it so they will not puncture their insides.

To learn more about what fox scat looks like, and how to track foxes by their scat, see our article here.

Do Foxes and Coyotes Interbreed?

Foxes and coyotes are from the same Canidae family but are of a different species and genus. This means that they cannot interbreed. They do not have compatible sets of chromosomes to produce offspring.

Even though they look a lot alike, and are related, the two can’t interbreed, and there are no known coyote/fox hybrids that have been verified by the scientific community.

How Big is a Fox Compared to a Coyote?

As previously mentioned, coyotes are larger than foxes. We’ve created this chart so you can tell the difference in size between the two.

FurFox fur varies from orange, gray, tan, black, and white.Coyote fur is gray, brown, rusty, cinnamon, and white.
FaceFox’s faces are smaller, with more narrow muzzles.Coyotes have larger faces with wider muzzles.
EarsFoxes have large pointy ears, pointier than coyotes.Coyotes also have large pointy ears, that are slightly more rounded.
HeightThe red fox is 14 -20 inches tall, shoulder height.The coyote is around 24 inches tall, shoulder height.
LengthFoxes are around 1.5-3 feet long.Coyotes are 3.5 to 4.5 feet long.
WeightThe average red fox weighs 10-15 pounds.The average coyote weighs around 15-50 pounds

Which is More Dangerous Fox or Coyote?

When it comes to the level of danger each of these canids possesses, coyotes are at the top. Coyotes will snatch up your pet for a meal real quick, while foxes tend to leave household pets alone. This doesn’t mean that a fox won’t eat something like a cat if they are starving.

Coyotes prey on larger farm animals, making them much more of a threat to livestock. Foxes prey on smaller farm animals like chickens and ducks. You may be comfortable around a wild fox, but never get close to a coyote, as they can be a danger to pets and humans.

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Will a Coyote Kill a Fox?

Fox vs a coyote in a fight? A coyote will kill a fox. If the two came up against each other toe to toe, the fox would lose that battle, unless they got extremely lucky. Foxes and coyotes are thought to be natural enemies. The coyote is much larger than the fox and is more brutal.

Not only will a coyote kill a fox, but they will also eat them if they are hungry enough. Most wild canids have no problem eating other canids. Even foxes will kill and eat other foxes if they are hungry enough.

Related Questions

Does fox urine attract coyotes?

Fox urine usually does not attract coyotes. Since the two are very similar, a coyote would see fox urine as a sign there are other wild canids in the area, as long as they are already established.

What is stronger a fox or a coyote?

A coyote is stronger than a fox. This is because of the size difference. Coyotes have larger and longer legs and are almost twice the size of a fox. Because of this, they are stronger.

Fox Vs Coyote | How to Tell Them Apart | All Things Foxes (2024)


How do you tell the difference between a coyote and a fox? ›

The coyote has a much larger size, longer legs, a more muscular body, and a thinner tail. The fox, by contrast, has shorter legs, a smaller body, and a bushy tail. It also exhibits a much wider range of coat colors, including white, silver, gray, yellowish-brown, and a strong orange-red coat.

Why is a fox not scared of me? ›

If a fox doesn't appear scared of you, they probably learned to associate people with food (likely because someone has been feeding them) and may exhibit boldness or even approach you.

What are foxes afraid of? ›

Bold foxes can be scared away by loud noises, water hoses, water guns and thrown objects, says the Humane Society. They also advise contacting your local “animal control agency, police department or health department” if a fox shows signs of rabies, mange or if your pet is bitten by a fox.

Is a coyote a fox? ›

Foxes are the small canines weighing around 8 to 20 pounds. They have slanted eyes, upright ears, long tail, short limbs with an elongated body and a flat skull. Coyotes, on the other hand, weight from 20 to 46 pounds and have a long snout with triangular ears. They are larger than foxes but smaller than the wolves.

Why does a fox cry at night? ›

Foxes scream and bark to communicate with each other. This becomes more common during mating season, which is at its peak in January. The most common reasons that foxes scream during the night are to defend their territory and to attract a mate during the mating season.

Who would win in a fight a fox or a coyote? ›

Their results, published recently in the journal PLOS One, came as a surprise. “If you look at the literature in non-urban areas, most studies suggest coyotes would displace red fox. If coyotes can catch the red fox the will certainly kill them to limit competition for resources in that area,” Drake says.

What to do if a fox follows you? ›

Yell, clap your hands, wave your arms, stomp your feet—make your presence felt, but do not approach or chase the animal. You can also carry a whistle, or other noisemaker when walking in known coyote or fox areas.

Why would a fox scream at you? ›

They're Marking Their Territory

Male foxes scream to mark their territory and warn off potential competitors for mates. It's also a tool they use to scare off predators and protect their young. If you are innocently walking by and a fox starts screaming at you, it might mean that you're too close to their den and cubs.

What to do if a fox comes at you? ›

If in their curiosity they approach you, clap and shout to scare them away. You want to teach them that humans are a danger and to avoid us. For pets, keep them on a leash to avoid any encounters. Keeping pets under our control while outdoors is always our advice to avoid conflicts with wildlife.

What smell foxes hate? ›

You can use certain smells to deter foxes, they are reported to dislike the smell of chilli peppers and garlic so try infusing in boiling water and spraying around your garden as a fox repellent.

How intelligent is a fox? ›

Foxes are very smart in ways that matter: finding food, surviving in weather extremes, outwitting predators, protecting their young. They're smarter than most, but not all, dog breeds. Here's an example of their cleverness: There's a fox rescue organization that sometimes scatters slices of bread in a nearby field.

What animal kills foxes? ›

Bears, mountain lions, eagles, and wolves eat foxes. Animals like bears, mountain lions, birds like eagles, certain reptiles, wolves, and lynxes eat foxes. As for reptiles, only boas and pythons conveniently eat foxes because of their large body sizes – other snakes generally cannot feed on animals the size of foxes.

Can a fox mate with a coyote? ›

Foxes do not cross with dogs, coyotes, or wolves because they are not the same genus.

Can a fox impregnate a dog? ›

Short answer: no, they can't. They simply don't have compatible parts. (Of course, that doesn't mean they can't be friends: witness Juniper the Fox and Moose the Dog, above). The longer answer to why dog-fox hybrids can't exist has to do with the two species having vastly different numbers of chromosomes.

Can a fox breed with a cat? ›

In fact, it would actually be impossible for a canid and a felid to hybridise, as some outlets are reporting. The cat differs from the domestic cat in several key ways, including its larger size - up to 90 centimetres (35 inches) long from head to tail-tip, very wide-set ears, short whiskers, and long canine teeth.

Why do foxes laugh? ›

Turns out, foxes are able to laugh as a result of being domesticated by humans for more than six decades. The phenomenon, first observed by Russian researchers on silver foxes, appears to have spread to other fox species too. Here's a video of a laughing silver fox.

What animal sounds like a child yelling? ›

Creepy Cats

The noise of screeching bobcats has been likened to a child wailing in distress. Typically a sound made by competing males in winter during the mating season, it can be heard in many regions of North America.

Do foxes cry tears? ›

'In the sense of producing emotional tears, we are the only species,' he says. All mammals make distress calls, like when an offspring is separated from its mother, but only humans cry, he says.

What animal kills a coyote? ›

Cougars, wolves, grizzly bears and black bears are known to kill coyotes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Golden eagles have been known to swoop down and take young coyotes. Humans kill coyotes too, for their fur and in attempts to control their populations.

What animal can defeat a coyote? ›

Coyotes are eaten by gray wolves, cougars, and golden eagles. Gray wolves, cougars, American black and grizzly bears, American alligators, large Canada lynx, and golden eagles eat coyotes.

What animal eats a fox? ›

Red fox

What does it mean when a fox runs right in front of you? ›

Crossing paths with the fox is seen to bring good fortune, unlike other African tribes, where it was considered that if one sees a fox or if a fox crosses their route while heading home, that person would just not arrive at their destination without encountering either a witch or thief.

How do you know if a fox likes you? ›

While a wild swinging tail is an obvious sign of threat, a cheerful waggling tail indicates enthusiasm. A horizontal positioned tail, with the tip raised tells this fox is in for some sweet fox loving.

Do foxes fall in love? ›

Do Foxes Fall in Love? Quite simply, Yes. It is scientifically proven that animals experience empathy, affection and attachment, (though the scientific community may continue to debate the full details). Love is chemistry, a force of nature experienced by all.

Do foxes fight to the death? ›

Fights are relatively common among foxes, but fights to the death are rare. One study of fox corpses by Bristol University found that only about 5% had died as a result of combat with other foxes, most during winter in the midst of the breeding season.

Why are foxes scared of humans? ›

Foxes are scared of humans as we are their biggest predators. Foxes would not bite a human unless cornered and attacked. An overly tame fox may have been previously kept as a pet or may be ill with toxoplasmosis which makes the fox lose their instinctual fear.

Why would a fox chase a cat? ›

Although it is rare, foxes do sometimes attack (and eat) cats. However, this is usually only kittens, or very old or sick cats. This is because foxes are opportunistic predators and will attack something if they think it is easy prey. Kittens are much smaller than foxes and often defenceless.

Should you befriend a fox? ›

No. Do not try to make foxes tame. While it is a great thrill to have wild foxes coming to take food from your hand, problems arise because many urban foxes are now so tame that they approach strangers in the expectation of being fed.

What does fox poo look like? ›

Foxes. Foxes produce dog-like droppings that are usually pointy at one end and full of fur, feathers, tiny bones, seeds and berries. In rural areas, fox poo is quite dark, but in urban areas, where foxes eat human food waste, it can be lighter. Fresh droppings have a distinctively musky or 'foxy' smell.

Why is a fox hanging around my house? ›

It means the fox is hungry and is looking for scraps of food. Best to feed him outside in your garden or on your terrace. Do not allow him inside as these are wild animals.

Will loud music keep a fox away? ›

If you're looking to keep foxes out of an enclosed area, just any old radio that has a pretty loud volume will do, in my opinion. Just make sure that the radio is loud enough so that it can be heard through the walls of the area. For instance, if you're putting the radio inside a barn, crank it up!

What food do foxes hate? ›

Foxes hate chilli peppers. The main ingredient of chilli peppers is capsaicin, and it is what foxes can't stand to be around. Capsaicin, other than being a natural fox repellent, is also what makes a chilli pepper taste hot and spicy, followed by a burning sensation.

Do foxes hate water? ›

Foxes try their best not to be rained on and they rarely venture into water with their whole bodies. This proves that they hate water and with this knowledge, we can use water as a weapon against foxes.

Which animal has high IQ? ›

CHIMPANZEES. RECKONED to be the most-intelligent animals on the planet, chimps can manipulate the environment and their surroundings to help themselves and their community. They can work out how to use things as tools to get things done faster, and they have outsmarted people many a time.

Which animal has smartest IQ? ›


This research has firmly established that chimps are one of the most intelligent species on earth.

How loyal is a fox? ›

You've heard expressions such as "sly as a fox" and "crazy like a fox," but not "faithful as a fox." It's not an expression, but it should be. Foxes have highly developed social systems, forming strong pair bonds and raising "kits" communally. Some male foxes take a mate, while others practice vulpine polygamy.

Is a wolf stronger than a fox? ›

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) Is a fox stronger than a wolf? No, the fox is much smaller than a wolf, about 1/6 its size. The larger size of the wolf affords it more muscle and thus more strength.

Who eats Eagle? ›

Predators of Eagles include humans, hawks, and raccoons.

Can a dog impregnate a coyote? ›

Do they mate with one another? People often speculate as to the frequency of coyote-dog hybrids, or coydogs, in urban settings. Coyotes and dogs are related, and they are biologically capable of producing hybrid litters. Coydogs have been raised in captivity.

Is there a fox wolf hybrid? ›

A folf, also known as a pholph, is a fictional anthropomorphic hybrid species, made up of a cross between a fox and a wolf. In real life, this type of crossbreeding is not biologically possible. A folf can show the physical characteristics of both mentioned species, depending on which side is more dominant.

Do foxes eat snakes? ›

They are omnivores and eat almost anything they can find. This includes smaller animals such as rodents, rabbits, lizards, snakes, and amphibians. It also includes plant matter such as berries, nuts and seeds. With such a broad diet red foxes are sure to find something to eat in almost any environment.

What dog is closest to a fox? ›

The Schipperke is the most fox-like dog in this list. Their black coat, pointed nose, and black eyes resembles a black fox. According to Dog Time, they are fearless, devoted, and a great guard dog. The Shiba Inu's fur and colors make them look just like foxes, according to the AKC.

Can a dog get a wolf pregnant? ›

Yes, wolves and domestic dogs can breed and produce fertile offspring.

Do dogs mate with any dog? ›

Theoretically, it is possible to take any two breeds of dogs and breed them together. You can, in fact, even breed dogs with other genetically-similar species, such as wolves, coyotes or dingoes, to produce what is known as a 'hybrid'.

Do foxes purr? ›

Animals that produce purr-like sounds include mongooses, bears, kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, badgers, foxes, hyenas, rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, tapirs, ring-tailed lemurs and gorillas while eating. Animals purr for a variety of reasons, including to express happiness or fear, and as a defense mechanism.

Is a Foxcat real? ›

A new species has been spotted on the island of Corsica. According to CNN, wildlife rangers from France's National Hunting and Wildlife Office have identified 16 of the animals prowling the island. The cat-fox was discovered on the island of Corsica.

What does fox urine smell like? ›

Fox urine in particular has a strong “skunky/musky” odour, the intensity of which varies with season and appears to be caused by two sulphur-containing compounds, Δ3-isopentenyl methyl sulfide and 2-phenylthyl methyl sulfide. Foxes have an acute sense of smell, and scent plays a pivotal role in vulpine society.

How can you tell if its a coyote? ›

Coyotes have large erect pointed ears, a slender muzzle (see picture above) and a bushy tail. Fur color can vary widely. The color of the coyote's pelt varies from grayish-brown to yellowish-gray on the upper parts, while the throat and belly tend to have a buff or white color.

How can you tell coyote tracks from fox tracks? ›

Coyotes weigh between 20 and 50 pounds. The size of their tracks reflects this difference in weight. In addition, note that the coyote's toe and metatarsal pads are quite distinct, whereas the furry-footed fox's are not. (Red Fox tracks on left headed down; Coyote tracks on right headed up.)

Does a fox or coyote have a bushy tail? ›

The tail length is a good clue - fox tails are bushy and long, nearly half the body length of the animal. Coyote tails (even those of pups) are skinnier, more dog-like and short relative to the animal's body length. Red foxes are the largest of the foxes, but noticeably smaller than either coyotes or wolves.

What does coyote and fox poop look like? ›

What Does Fox Poop Look Like? Fox droppings are similar to coyote scat, only smaller. Typically, their feces are tan or brown and about two to three inches long with pointy ends. A fox's variable diet affects the appearance of its feces, so waste may contain bones, hair, insects, and bits of fruit or seeds.

What to do if a coyote stares at you? ›

Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back. Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice. Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle.

What happens if a coyote sees you? ›

If you see a coyote during the daytime, you should exhibit caution, as that coyote may have become habituated to humans (and may be more likely to attack). If you are approached by a coyote, you should yell, wave your arms, and/or throw something at the coyote (do not run away).

What is coyotes afraid of? ›

In truth, coyotes are afraid of people, objects thrown in their direction, loud noisemakers and sounds, bright lights, and predator urine. All of these can help to repel and deter coyotes from your property.

What does a coyote warning sound like? ›


This is when the coyote gets serious about a threat. The bark-howl is used as a long-distance high-intensity threat or alarm. It starts with a bark and blends into a howl.

Are coyote tracks in a straight line? ›

In addition, coyotes typically run or walk in a straight line, with each paw print almost directly in front of the next and with few meandering lines. Domestic dogs, on the other hand, aren't as worried about conserving energy, so they wander all over the place, frequently crossing over their own paths.

What do the tracks of a coyote look like? ›

Tracks: Coyote footprints are oval-shaped and measure approximately 2.5 inches long by 2 inches wide. They register four toes with claws in both front and hind feet. Their tracks are relatively symmetrical, though they can show a slight lead toe/claw that allows left and right feet to be differentiated.

Do foxes eat dog poo? ›

Dog poo forms a significant part of the diet of red foxes living in pine forests in the Scottish Highlands, a study has revealed. Researchers found that dog faeces has a calorific content similar to foxes' wild prey. But it is much easier to "hunt" - with the foxes feeding on it especially when wild prey is scarce.

What animal has purple poop? ›

Water voles, rats and mice

Water vole droppings are green, brown or purple, have a putty-like texture and no strong smell. Rat droppings are light brown to black, slimy and soft, and smell unpleasantly like wee. Mice produce very similar droppings to rats, but they are much smaller.

What animal poop is black? ›

Mouse scat tends to be black (hard when dry), pointed on one end, and about 1/4 inch in length. You'll find them in scattered patterns in high traffic areas. Droppings of flying squirrels appear moist.

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