Coyote Annual Life Cycle and Lifespan

How long do coyotes live?

Coyotes, as most animals, have predictable and consistent life cycles. Mating between a monogamous pair generally occurs in winter (January – March).

 The pregnant female will eventually settle into a den and after a 2-month gestation period, multiple pups – usually between four and seven – will be born in the spring.

Both parents help to raise the offspring by providing food, and pups are weaned and begin to venture out of the den after about 35 days.

 Pups remain with their parents over the next few months, but they grow up fast and must eventually strike out on their own before the next generation is born. Some of the offspring might remain to help raise the next batch of younger siblings, but most will disperse in an attempt to find their own territory and mates.
The parents can then start to produce a new litter of pups when mating season comes around again.

Click on the graphic to the right to see pictures of a coyote pup as it grows up.

How to Determine a Coyote’s Age

 The pup/juvenile age class makes up the first year of life and the transition to adult teeth is completed by the 6th or 7th month.

By 12 months old, the start of the yearling age class, coyotes are sexually mature and can theoretically reproduce, although this obviously requires a mate as well as possession of an exclusive territory.  A yearling’s teeth show no visible tartar or wear on the incisors and canines.

Young adulthood makes up years 3 to 5 of a coyote’s life. Some tartar begins to appear on the teeth and the incisors and canines are now slightly worn.  The older adult age class is reached at the age of 5 and the teeth now show heavy tarter and wear. Some teeth might be worn down to the gum line or actually missing.

The teeth will continue to deteriorate as the coyote ages; however most coyotes usually don’t live this long.

Coyote Age
We began radio-tracking an older adult coyote at Berry College in 2006 and followed him for 5 years before losing contact in 2011, which means that he lived at least 10 years. Several of our other study subjects lived at least 7-9 years.
Coyote Teeth

(A) yearling (no visible tartar, no wear on incisors and canines, born during the previous breeding season, 11 – 13 months old)

(B) young adult (some tartar, incisors and canines slightly worn, 23 – 48 months old)

Coyote Teeth

(C) older adult (extremely worn and/or missing incisors and canines, ≥ 60 months old)

© 2015 Atlanta Coyote Project