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Wolves and Coyotes - Know the Difference
 
 
Coyote
Coyote (Canis latrans)
 
- Ears are prominent, pointed, relatively long
- Nose is slender and pointed
- About 20-inches tall at shoulder; 4-feet long, including tail
- Front paw, 2.5-inches long x 2-inches wide
- Moves with more bounce and bounding
- Nose is more pointed; face is mostly one color
- Usually displays skittish behavior unless fed
- Legs and feet are smaller, more delicate
- Weigh 20-35 pounds
- Fur color is very similar to wolves:
  - Grizzled shades of buff, gray, black and rust
- Rarely white or black
 
Mexican Wolf
 Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)
 
- Ears are rounded, relatively short
- Nose is large and blocky
- About 30-inches tall at shoulder; 5- to 5.5-feet long with tail
- Front paw, 4.5-inches long x 3.5-inches wide
- Moves with stiff and unique gait
- Nose is broad; face often has markings
- Sometimes displays curious behavior
- Legs are longer, more lanky; feet are larger
- Weigh 50-80 pounds
- Fur color is very similar to coyotes:
  - Grizzled shades of buff, gray, black and rust
- Not all white or all black
 
Helping wolves and humans coexist
Mexican wolves are protected by the Endangered Species Act under a special rule which allows people to scare away or harass wolves in an "opportunistic and non-injurious" manner. This means you cannot seek out, pursue or attract wolves, nor can you physically injure a wolf in any way. However, you can scare a wolf away by making loud noises with any handy implements or by throwing rocks in the animal's direction.

Keep in mind that few people have had to frighten Mexican wolves away, and no one has been injured by them. Most report that hearing or seeing wolves has not affected the success of their hunt and say a sighting has actually added to the quality of their experience. About 50 wolves roam nearly 10,000-square miles of the recovery area in the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and in the Apache and Gila National Forests of Arizona and New Mexico.

A person who violates the rules pertaining to wolves is subject to prosecution. Criminal penalties are a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

If you have any questions regarding wolves, call the Wolf Project Interagency Field Team Office at (928) 339-4329 or the Pinetop office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (928) 367-4281.
 
Common sense ways to avoid wolf conflicts
Wolves normally avoid human contact. Like all wildlife, they can be curious and could become habituated to humans. This is especially true if people feed wolves at campgrounds.

If a wolf should approach you, raise your arms and look as big as possible. Yell or throw rocks to scare it away. Back away slowly. Never run.

Some other tips are:

Keep a clean camp.

Prepare and store food and wash dishes away from sleeping area.

Properly store garbage in camp and dispose of garbage in predator-proof receptacle.

Always keep pets close to you. Do not leave them unattended or allow them to run free.

Never feed wildlife - including wolves.

To report wolf sightings, possible livestock depredations, or harassment of wolves call:


Wolf Project Interagency Field Team at (928) 339-4329 or (888) 459-9653


Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 352-0700

White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023

 
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