Elk NetworkHow to Tell a Wolf vs a Coyote

General | April 11, 2017
How to Compare a Wolf and a Coyote

If you saw a wolf standing next to a coyote it would be easy to tell the differences between the two, right? But could you differentiate which you’re looking at if you saw just one of them from a distance in the wild?

A blog post in the Spokesman-Review helps clarify the issue. It features two photos of a wildlife researcher’s bait station in north Idaho—one highlights each species.

Photo of Wolf

Photo of Coyote

How to Tell the Difference

Some quick notes:
  • Generally speaking, wolves weigh from 60 to 120 pounds and are much larger and longer than coyotes which only weigh 20 to 50 pounds.
  • You’re more likely to see a coyote as they are more prevalent, and more comfortable around humans
  • Coyotes have noses that are narrow and more pointed
  • Coyotes ears are taller and more pointed
  • Wolf tracks are roughly 4x5 inches vs Coyote 2x2.5 inches