COYOTE, or kileit (Sp., from Mex. ceyo//). The modified native :Mexican name of the prairie-wolf (Canis latrans), now universally adopted throughout the western United States. The coyote in several varieties is abundant almost everywhere from the Plains to the Pacific, south of central British Columbia, and is famous for its monotonous and reiterated yelping at night. This more resembles the barking of a dog than the howl of the ordinary wolf, and an early name was 'barking wolf.' One thinks half a dozen are yelping in chorus as he listens to it. It generally travels in packs, like other wolves, but, unlike them. it rarely attacks human beings. It is of rather small size, about as big as a setter dog, of a light reddish or yellowish-gray color, the longer hairs of the hack tipped with black. The pelage is rather full and soft, the tail is bushy, the ears are upright, and the muzzle is slender and pointed. Several species are recognized by some naturalists, which others regard as geogra phical races only. Coyotes live in hollows among rocks, or take possession of old burrows in the ground, and usually produce four puppies in late spring. They hunt.ehietly in the dusk. They are
very fleet of foot, and two or three by acting in concert will run down a pronghorn; they seek to detach and seize the fawns, however, rather than to pull down adults. Their food consists mainly of gophers, ground-squirrels, mice, ground-nesting birds, and similar small animals; and they have become a great nuisance in the neighborhood of ranches and isolated settlements, especially in winter, by attacking sheep, poultry, calves. etc. Adapting themselves thus readily to circumstances, and having extreme cunning in avoiding traps and poison, they survive among the sparser settlements of the West, and in some regions increase rather than dimin ish. They will cross with the domestic dog, pro ducing fertile hybrids; and the Indians were accustomed to induce such mixture of blood. This animal entered more largely than almost any other into the mythology and folk-lore of the aborigines, especially west of the Rockies. Con sult: Ingersoll, Wild Neighbors (New York, 1897) : Elliot, Synopsis of Mammals (Chicago, 1901). See WOLF; and illustrations on Colored Plate of CANID2E, and on Plate of WOLVES AND Dons.