Difference Between Fox and Coyote

Fox vs Coyote

Fox and coyote are closely related carnivorous mammals of the same family. It is very easy for anyone to confuse as who is who when it comes to fox and coyote. Therefore, a better understanding about them would be useful. This article discusses the characteristics of fox and coyote and emphasizes the differences between them. It would be worthwhile to refer the presented information for a better clarification.


Foxes are mammals belong to the Order: Carnivora, and they are medium to small in their body sizes. They belong to Family: Canidae and most of them belong to Genus: Vulpes. There are about 37 species of foxes. They have a characteristically long and narrow snout, beautiful and hairy coat, and a brush-like tail. People call an adult healthy male fox as a Reynard and an adult female as a Vixen. A Reynard weighs about six kilograms, while females weigh slightly less than males due to the size difference between sexes. The habitat of the fox ranges from deserts to glaciers, and they prefer to be more wild than domesticated. The desert living species do not have large ears with short fur to adapt to the conditions while temperate species, viz. Arctic fox, have long fur and small ears. Fox is an omnivorous animal preferring both animal and plant matter as food. Nevertheless, most of them are predators and their habit of burying extra food for later consumption is notable. Usually, foxes like to hunt their prey by means of group hunting. There is a notable change in lifespan between wild and captive foxes; in wild, it is about ten years, but in captivity, they can survive for a longer time. However, hunting foxes has been practising by people. In addition to this controversial sport, other vehicle accidents and diseases have caused the average lifespan to be around 2 – 3 years in the wild. However, they have a longer lifespan in captivity than in wild.


Coyote, aka American jackal or prairie wolf, is a canine found throughout north and Central America. Coyote being a canine means that coyotes are members of the Order: Carnivora and Family: Canidae. It belongs to the species Canis latrans, and there are 19 recognized subspecies. Their coat colour varies from greyish-brown to yellowish-grey, but the throat, belly, and undersides are whiter-pale in colour. In addition, their forelegs, side of the head, muzzle, and paw are reddish in colour. The tip of the tail is black, and they have their scent gland located at the dorsal base. Usually, coyotes shed their fur once a year, which starts in May and ends in July. Their ears are proportionally larger than the head. However, their feet are relatively smaller than the rest of the body. The body length of an average built coyote is about 76 – 86 centimetres, and the height at the withers is about 58 – 66 centimetres. They stay as large groups and hunt in pairs. These territorial animals are primarily active in the night, but sometimes they are diurnal, as well. Interestingly, coyotes are mono-oestrus animals. Once they found their partners, the pair bond remains for many years.

What is the difference between Fox and Coyote?

• Coyote is one particular species, whereas there are many species of foxes. Therefore, the diversity is higher among foxes than in coyotes.

• A geographical distribution is unique to coyote, but it is much wider for foxes.

• Coyotes are more dog like in their appearance compared to foxes.

• Foxes could be either small or large depending on the species, but coyotes are medium-large sized animal.

• Coyotes have stronger mating bonds “pair bonds” than the ones in foxes.

• Usually, the lifespan is longer in coyote compared to foxes.