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Fox vs. Coyote: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 7, 2023
Foxes are small, agile canids; coyotes are larger with a broader range.

Key Differences

Foxes are small, nimble members of the Canidae family, recognized for their bushy tails and pointed ears. Coyotes, on the other hand, are larger, belonging to the same family but often mistaken for wolves due to their size.
In terms of habitat, foxes can be found in diverse environments, from urban areas to forests. Coyotes primarily inhabit plains, forests, and deserts but have been expanding into urban territories. Foxes tend to have a varied diet that includes rodents, fruits, and insects.
Coyotes have a more carnivorous diet, preying on larger animals like deer but also eating smaller mammals and even fruits. Behaviorally, foxes are more secretive and solitary, often hunting alone. Coyotes can be seen alone or in packs, exhibiting more vocal and social behaviors.
In folklore and literature, foxes are often depicted as cunning and sly, while coyotes are seen as wily and trickster figures.

Comparison Chart


Smaller, usually below 15 lbs
Larger, often between 20-50 lbs


Bushy tail, pointed ears
Less bushy tail, more wolf-like appearance


Primarily carnivorous


More solitary
Can be solitary or social


Quiet, fewer vocalizations
Howls, yips, and vocal communications

Fox and Coyote Definitions


A sly or cunning person.
He's a fox, always finding loopholes in the system.


A person who smuggles Latin American immigrants into the U.S.
The migrants were abandoned by the coyote at the border.


The reddish-brown color of a mature fox's coat.
She dyed her hair a deep fox hue.


A trickster figure in certain Native American mythologies.
In some tales, the coyote teaches important lessons to the people.


A small carnivorous mammal with a bushy tail.
The fox sneaked into the hen house at night.


An undermining or disruptive presence or influence.
He acted like a coyote in the team, always causing dissent.


A member of certain tribes or traditional stories.
The fox is often a trickster in folklore tales.


An acme product used by a certain animated character in unsuccessful attempts to catch his prey.
The Road Runner always escaped the traps set by the coyote.


A type of woman's shoe with trimmings of contrasting material.
She wore her new fox shoes to the party.


A North American canid that resembles a wolf but is smaller.
The coyote howled under the moonlight.


A member of a Native American people formerly inhabiting various parts of southern Michigan, southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and eastern Iowa, with present-day populations in central Iowa and with the Sauk in Oklahoma.


A wolflike carnivorous mammal (Canis latrans) of North and Central America, having grayish-brown or yellowish fur, large erect ears, and a drooping bushy tail. Also called prairie wolf.


The Algonquian language of the Fox.


A firefighter who is sent to battle remote, usually very severe forest fires, often for days at a time.


Any of various carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae and especially of the genus Vulpes, found worldwide and characteristically having upright ears, a pointed snout, and a long bushy tail.


(Slang) A person who smuggles undocumented immigrants into the United States, especially across the Mexican border.


Are foxes and coyotes both found in North America?

Yes, both foxes and coyotes are native to North America.

Is the fox often associated with cunning in folklore?

Yes, foxes are often depicted as sly or cunning figures in folklore.

What family do both foxes and coyotes belong to?

Both belong to the Canidae family.

Which is generally larger, a fox or a coyote?

A coyote is generally larger than a fox.

Are coyotes more social than foxes?

Coyotes can be more social and are sometimes found in packs, whereas foxes tend to be more solitary.

Do both foxes and coyotes have a varied diet?

Foxes have a more varied diet, while coyotes lean more towards being carnivorous.

Are foxes and coyotes susceptible to rabies?

Both can contract rabies, but it's more commonly associated with foxes.

Are foxes and coyotes both nocturnal?

Both can be nocturnal, but they can also be active during the day.

Do coyotes and foxes ever interact?

Yes, they might interact, especially when competing for resources.

Which is faster, a fox or a coyote?

Both are swift, but coyotes can reach slightly higher speeds than foxes.

Are there different species of foxes?

Yes, there are multiple fox species, such as the red fox and arctic fox.

Is a coyote's vocalization louder than a fox's?

Yes, coyotes are known for their howls and vocal communications, while foxes are quieter.

Can foxes adapt to urban environments?

Yes, foxes are known to live in urban areas as well as forests.

Are coyotes also expanding into urban areas?

Yes, coyotes have been increasingly seen in urban territories.

What are the main predators of foxes?

Coyotes, wolves, and large birds of prey can be predators of foxes.

Do both foxes and coyotes dig dens?

Yes, both animals can dig dens, especially for rearing their young.

Are foxes and coyotes both important for ecosystem balance?

Yes, both play crucial roles in controlling rodent populations and other small prey.

Can both foxes and coyotes climb trees?

While not common climbers, both can scale short heights or fences if necessary.

Do foxes and coyotes have a strong sense of smell?

Yes, both animals have a keen sense of smell which aids in hunting.

How long do foxes and coyotes live?

In the wild, foxes can live up to 14 years, while coyotes can live up to 10 years.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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