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In early post-Columbian historical records, distinguishing between coyotes and wolves is often difficult.
He had the first edition of the Lewis and Clark journals in hand, which contained Biddle's edited version of Lewis's observations dated May 5, 1805. The earliest written reference to the species comes from the naturalist Francisco Hernández's Plantas y Animales de la Nueva España (1651), where it is described as a "Spanish fox" or "jackal".It has a varied diet consisting primarily of animal meat, including deer, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion.Its characteristic vocalization is a howl made by solitary individuals.The first published usage of the word "coyote" (which is a Spanish borrowing of its Nahuatl name coyōtl) comes from the historian Francisco Javier Clavijero's Historia de México in 1780.The first time it was used in English occurred in William Bullock's Six months' residence and travels in Mexico (1824), where it is variously transcribed as cayjotte and cocyotie.The hair's predominant color is light gray and red or fulvous, interspersed around the body with black and white.
Coyotes living at high elevations tend to have more black and gray shades than their desert-dwelling counterparts, which are more fulvous or whitish-gray.
Man is the coyote's greatest threat, followed by cougars and gray wolves.
In spite of this, coyotes sometimes mate with gray, eastern, or red wolves, producing "coywolf" hybrids.
The animal was especially respected in Mesoamerican cosmology as a symbol of military might.
After the European colonization of the Americas, it was reviled in Anglo-American culture as a cowardly and untrustworthy animal.
The coyote is a prominent character in Native American folklore, mainly in the Southwestern United States and Mexico, usually depicted as a trickster that alternately assumes the form of an actual coyote or a man.