Coyote vs Fox: How to Tell Them Apart

It is difficult for an untrained eye to tell the difference between coyote and fox when they come across one. The two appear to be fairly similar in terms of appearance and there for one can be confused with the other. However, if you know exactly what to look for, then you can tell the difference between a coyote and a fox from a distance. The following tips will allow you to differentiate whether you encounter a fox or coyote.

How to spot a coyote

Coyotes are generally bigger in size than a fox. Especially coyotes in the East which are bigger than those that are in the West. To spot a coyote you need to pay close attention to the following:

  • Fur color, the fur color of a coyote is generally darker in tone and has a gray color. The lower, belly part gets lighter in color.
  • They are bulkier than fox.
  • They have longer legs.
  • The tail when a coyote runs hangs down. The tail also is short and usually has a dark tip.

How to spot a fox

You will find different types of foxes in the US, the two main ones are the gray fox and the red fox. It is much easier to tell a red fox from a coyote than it is a grey one. We have characteristics of both for you.

Red fox

  • The fur is red-tan colored, you won’t really find coyotes with the same colored fur.
  • Ears are black.
  • The lower legs are black as if they wear black stockings.
  • A long tail.

Gray fox

  • Fur color is grey, more like a coyote, but they are gray throughout.
  • Blacktip on the tail and they also have a black stripe on their tail.
  • The lower legs are completely gray, no black like with the red fox.

It is much harder to tell a gray fox from a coyote. If you just go by their face, then it is nearly impossible as the two look very similar. However, the size and the tail should also you to determine whether you have come across a fox or a coyote.