Whether you are a predator hunter or just someone who prefers to be well aware of their surroundings, it is not at all uncommon to wonder what exactly the differences between the tracks of a fox and the tracks of a coyote are.
Well, the answer is pretty simple. The bigger the animal, the larger its feet are going to be. Therefore, as coyotes, in general, tend to be larger than foxes, their tracks are also going to be larger. This should be the first thing you notice while trying to determine if the tracks belong to a fox or a coyote.
However, there are other factors involved in determining the differences between the tracks of foxes and coyotes. In this article, we are going to share with you these differentiating points. However, before we do that, let us have a small discussion about foxes and coyotes in general.
What Do We Know About Foxes?
Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes
Height: 20-50 cm (depending on the species)
Weight: 0.68-9.4 kg (depending on the species)
Lifespan: 3-4 years
Foxes are typically found in small to medium sizes. They are omnivorous mammals that belong to the Canidae family. Foxes tend to have a pretty distinctive appearance. They have a bushy tails, pointed ears, and a narrow-looking snout.
As an animal, a fox is pretty common. You can find this cunning mammal anywhere in the world, apart from Antarctica. This is mainly because of the strong adaptive nature of foxes. They can adapt themselves to survive in even extreme circumstances. For example, the arctic foxes have adapted themselves to their hostile environment.
Foxes can play an important role in sustaining our ecosystem. These omnivorous mammals usually feed on anything they can get their paws on, including small mammals, fruits, insects, birds, reptiles, etc. Interestingly, foxes are both the predator and the prey. They are often hunted by other larger animals, such as wolves, coyotes, predatory birds, and even humans.
What Do We Know About Coyotes?
Scientific Name: Canis latrans
Height: 58-66 cm
Weight: 6.8-21 kg
Lifespan: 3 years (in the wild), 13-15 years (in captivity)
These mammals are actually from a family of Canines. They are a native species of North America. Coyotes have a look that highly resembles the look of a wolf, although they are much smaller than an actual wolf.
This animal can be found in abundance in nature. In fact, their wide distribution throughout North America has earned them the position of “least concern” animals in the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Like foxes, coyotes are also known to be quite cunning and resourceful. These highly intelligent mammals are natural survivors. They can adapt themselves to survive in any type of environment, be it the wild or the urban human areas.
Coyotes are opportunistic animals that will basically eat just about anything. In the wild, they will try to hunt small mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, etc. In the human areas, you will often see them feeding on garbage or some other food source.
However, coyotes are not safe from other predators either. Humans, wolves, cougars etc., are just some common examples of the type of predators coyotes have.
A Comparison Between Fox Tracks And Coyote Tracks
As we said in the beginning, there are many sectors to consider when you are trying to distinguish between fox tracks and coyote tracks, such as:
The first thing that you need to notice is the size of the tracks. As the coyote is physically larger than the fox, the tracks of coyotes are also larger. Therefore, while coyote tracks are generally 2 inches wide and 2.5 inches long, the fox tracks are smaller: 1.5 inches wide and 2 inches long.
To the ignorant eyes, the shape of a fox track and a coyote track will appear to be more or less similar. But if you know what to look for, the differences will seem glaringly obvious to you. Foxes have the standard oval or diamond-shaped tracks, while coyote tracks have a much more prominent oval-like appearance.
The faster an animal is, the longer its strides are going to be. Therefore, another way to distinguish between the tracks of foxes and coyotes is to measure the length of their strides. As coyotes are much faster than foxes, their strides are going to be longer. On average, the stride of the coyote is 18-22 inches, while it is 12 inches or less for foxes.
Toe marks are a great help in differentiating tracks. A fox’s track will likely have visible impressions of hair. Their claws are only sometimes visible in their tracks. On the other hand, in the case of coyote tracks, they are likely to have much more prominent visibility of toes with claws.
In this regard, however, the two animals seem to have a similarity between them. Both foxes and coyotes seem to prefer a straight path for walking or traveling. Thus, both their tracks are often found in a linear pathway.
Related: Coyote Den vs. Fox Den
A Quick Comparison Table Of Fox Tracks Vs. Coyote Tracks
Nevertheless, before we end our discussion on the differences between the tracks of foxes and coyotes, let us take a quick look at the comparison table of fox tracks vs. coyote tracks.
|Factors/Features||Fox Tracks||Coyote Tracks|
|Shape||Oval or diamond shape||More prominent oval shape|
|Size||1.5 inches wide, 2 inches long||2 inches wide, 2.5 inches long|
|Travelling Path||Travels in straight lines||Walks in a straight, linear lines|
|Stride||12 inches or less||18-22 inches|
|Toe Mark||Often visible impressions of hair, claws are only sometimes visible||Prominent visibility of toes with claws|
Well, now you know how to tell apart fox tracks from coyote tracks. We hope this knowledge will come in handy to you in your future adventures featuring foxes and coyotes. However, whenever you happen to encounter these animals, be sure not to harm them unnecessarily, as they both are an important part of our ecosystem.