Coyote vs Wolf – How to tell Them Apart

If you were to stand a coyote and a wolf side by side, it would be nearly impossible for you to tell the difference between the two, especially if you have no prior knowledge about the difference in the two. There are, however, subtle differences between the two which can easily help you set the two wild animals apart. You need to have a keen eye and pay attention to things like size, facial feature, and so on to distinguish between the two. The following tips will help you understand the difference between a coyote and wolf.

Coyote vs Wolf

Overall size

Wolves in general are bigger in size than coyotes. This includes length and weight. Coyotes tend to be smaller in size, a grown coyote can grow to be around 3.5 to 4.5 feet while a wolf is usually 5 to 6 feet. Wolves are also bulkier and can weigh 50 to 100 lbs. while coyotes weight 25 to 45 lbs. The height from the ground between the two also differs, wolves are taller than coyotes due to the extra bulk. Now when hunting coyotes, you need to keep an eye, if the animal looks a little heavier than chances are it is a wolf and not a coyote. However, size is not the only way to tell them apart.

Facial features

If you were to just glance at the face of a coyote and a wolf then you probably can’t tell them apart. However, there is a distinct facial feature that sets them apart. If you notice closely, the snout region of the two differs. You probably won’t be able to notice from afar but wolves nose are is blockish while the coyotes is pointed. If you look closely from the front on or the side, you can easily tell the difference between the two.

Another area within the facial region that sets the two apart are the ears. For this, you need to look at the size of the ears as compared to the face. Coyote’s ears are proportionally bigger in size to their face than wolves. Another distinguishing point is that coyote’s ears are pointed at the top whereas a wolf’s ears are rounded at the top.

Coyote On Rock Searching For Next Meal With Green Trees In Backg


The fur coat on each is another giveaway. Wolves tend to have a bulkier coat, they give a more “furry” feel than coyotes. It’s hard to tell them apart by the color of coats since there are different types of wolves and coyotes with different colors. However, coyotes tend to have lighter coats, gray touch of white and all, while wolves have brown, black, and tan colors for coats. While this is normally the case, with so many different types of wolves and coyotes it can be hard just to tell them apart by coat color.


The paw prints are another giveaway, however since you can’t really go up to them and view the print, you need to pay attention to the tracks. Since wolves are bigger in size their paw prints are bigger than coyotes. Wolves paw prints are usually 3.5 inches in length while coyotes are smaller at 2.75 inches. There is usually a more prominent nail impression on wolves paw prints than that of a coyote.

Even with the above information, it may be tough to distinguish between a coyote and a wolf. It takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it, the process gets a lot easier. As a hunter, you should know the difference to ensure that you kill the prey you intended to and not a wolf by mistake.