When Do Coyotes Howl: Most Variant Vocalist

Ever heard the song of a coyote….? you might have heard them howling many times especially if you abide around the area or nearby, where the sighting of the animal is common. In this article, we will be knowing about when coyotes howl and what is the meaning of different howling sounds.

When Do Coyotes Howl

Coyotes mostly howl in the night, however, they prey also in the dark. The very basic communication behavior is howling among the coyotes. There can be many different indications and meanings of a coyote’s howl.

The animal has been described as “the most vocal of all North American mammals”.  Moreover, if a coyote is an adult, it can have at least 11 types of different vocalizations and each may have a different meaning.

Mostly they howl to keep in touch with the other coyotes in the area or with their pack. Sometimes they howl to demonstrate their existence to other packs and to make sure that some other coyote enters their territory. They don’t really howl when they attack humans, isn’t it interesting to know Do coyotes attack humans?

Primarily coyotes howl and yip to communicate with each other and establish their territory. When they defend the den or maybe kill, they can bark. Their howl can be heard from 3 to 5 miles away. It can be twice the distance you estimate.

Once a group of coyotes starts howling, chances are that any other alpha pairs nearby will respond in kind, with chorus after chorus of group yip-howls rippling across the miles.

Sound of Coyotes is Classified Into Three Categories

1. Agonistic:-

The first category of vocalization includes woofs, growls, huffs, barks, bark howls, yelps, and high-frequency whines. Coyotes use each of them in a different situation and transmit a unique message to the pack.

  • Woofs:- are low-intensity threats or alarms that can be usually heard near the coyote’s den while protecting their pups and alerting the pack of any danger. This sound is generally made by large dogs but, this animal also belongs to the dog family and does create this sound.
  • Growls:- are used as threats at short distances. It is a deep guttural inarticulate sound. They can also be heard when pups play and copulate with males. Besides that, When they attack they growl.
  • Huffs:- are high-intensity threat vocalizations. These are produced by the rapid expiration of air.
  • Barks:- can be classified as long-distance threat vocalizations and also as alarm calls. Usually, a coyote barks while protecting his food or killing.
  • Bark howls:- may serve similar functions to beware the other coyote to stay away from its territory.
  • Yelps:- are emitted as a sign of submission. The yelp takes the whine-up mark and represents high-severity submission.
  • High-frequency whines:- are produced by chief animals acknowledging the submission of subordinates.

2. Greeting:-

In the second category of the coyote’s vocalization, there are Low-frequency whines, ‘wow-oo-wows’, and group yip howls. In this category, coyotes denote greetings, reunion, and gathering of the pack and other coyotes.

  • Low-frequency whines:- are emitted by courteous animals and are usually inclusive of tail wagging and muzzle nibbling.
  • Group yip howl:- is thrown when two or more pack members reunite, and may be the final act of an intricate salutation ceremony. Group yip-howls are ordinarily produced by a mated and territorial pair of “alpha” coyotes, with the male howling.

If you hear a coyote sounds ‘wow-oo-wows’, this sound is called the “Greeting song”.

3. Contact:-

The contact sounds include Lone howls, group howls, and group yip howls. These sounds are the most famous sounds that people generally hear.

  • The lone howl:- is the most iconic sound of the coyote so when a coyote gets separated from its pack it creates this sound.
  • Group howls:- are used as both substitute group yip howls and as responses to lone howls.

Researchers with the Caesar Kieberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University played recordings of 1-4 coyotes howling and yip-yapping and asked people to estimate how many coyotes they can hear howling. Listeners continuously overestimated the number of coyotes by nearly two-fold.

Generally, there is no need to be so concerned if you hear a coyote howling until they are not showing any aggressive behavior towards humans or pets.

Do Coyotes Howl After a Kill?

Howling and yipping are the sounds that coyotes use to establish contact and transmit messages among them. Many of us have mistakenly believed that howling denotes a coyote’s pack has made a kill.


They howl for a variety of reasons, they avoid howling when down a prey because doing so would draw attention and might attract competing coyotes or other predators to their location. But they may bark while defending their kill.

Why do Coyotes Howl At The Moon?


Howling can be heard at night often. Moon provides light and helps coyotes to see in a dense and dark forest. They generally hunt at night. It may seem they are howling at the moon but they just howl to each other just for communication. Bright moonlight night is good for hunting. They can easily see their prey and also become aware of other predators in the wild.

What frequency do coyotes howl?

Coyotes howl between 100 to 150 Hz to more than 1,000 Hz for adults.

If you have heard coyotes howl and yips in your area or anywhere else, let us know your experience in the comment section down below. let us know if this article was helpful for you or you can add your thoughts also.

David Gray Avatar


19 responses to “When Do Coyotes Howl: Most Variant Vocalist”

  1. Maureen Pedersen Avatar
    Maureen Pedersen

    We were sitting out by the fire last night and about 9:30 pm were heard yipping and howling to the nw of our property. We are in an rv resort. Our 9 month old started barking at them. They seemed awfully close so we decided to go into our trailer with our dog in case they were wanting to come down closer to where we were.

  2. Michele Avatar

    How Many Coyotes Are Howling ? “When people hear coyote howls, they often mistakenly assume that they’re hearing a large pack of animals, all raising their voices at once,” writes Mitchell. “But this is an auditory illusion called the …

  3. Well I have awaken 4 times this week from coyotes high pitch barking and such. It’s a horrible sound like an animal in distress. I don’t know what to do, how to live with this every other night. It’s quite frightening the first time I heard them and was trembling. Lived here in this house 39 yrs and never had them in my yard like this and actually never saw one until about a year ago.

  4. I heard them for the first time tonight in our neighborhood’s yard and then ours, and the howling was frightening. I was very shaken by the severe bark-howl. It sounded like an animal in extreme distress. We haven’t seen any in the area in years, so it’s even more distressing. Having read this and others information has made it clear that I can’t let my dogs go out to the yard with out monitoring them closely, and being prepared to cause a ruckus (whistles, horns, etc.) to scare them away should we see them. I’m still feeling unsettled by there presence.

  5. I heard them two nights this week, both times around 2 AM. It sounded like several pups in the cemetery nearby.

  6. Jennifer Landry Avatar
    Jennifer Landry

    I love the vocalization of coyotes. It is a primitive sound that reminds me that humans may THINK they are the supreme creatures on this planet, but that just might not be true. The coyotes are welcomed on my farm…

  7. We live in a rural area in a very small town. The population is about 992 people. Our house is on a dead end street and we’re surrounded by fields on all sides. When we first moved out here, we would very rarely hear coyotes and they sounded like they were pretty far away. Now, in the last several years, we hear them every single day and they don’t wait until dark to start howling. They howl several different times, from early evening to the next morning. We see them pretty frequently when we’re outside walking our dogs, also early evening and into the night. It’s not unheard of to see one or two of them walking through the neighborhood, and they don’t get in a hurry like they are afraid or anything. A couple times a year, there’s a farmer that hunts for their dens and shoots as many as he can, but you can’t really tell any difference. It still sounds like there’s just as many as before. It’s getting worse every year and it gets kinda scary sometimes. I never go outside without a flashlight so I can look around while I’m walking or something. It’s a very scary thing to hear something whining and shine the flashlight towards the sound and see the eyes all lit up just staring at you.

  8. Aim camping at moms with my dog…. No choice. Got woke at 2:00amm , sounded like quite a few and damn near just outside my tent ! Been googling to make sure they ain’t gonna come get us . My dog real old and I can’t can’t pick him up,& to make matters worse my mom invalid n feeds the coins! I gotta pee and I’ve turned my little light back on n have my little mace out……????????gotta admit I love nature but I’m scared!!!!!

  9. Shirley Cordova Avatar
    Shirley Cordova

    I live in an apartment inside the city limits. The building is surrounded be woodsy areas on three sides. People have seen at least one large coyote in the woods near our walking path. Several nights lately we’ve heard very loud whining and yipping sounds. At first most of us thought it was dogs in distress. One of the residents who is familiar with coyotes told me it was coyotes. It’s a terrible sound, but since I spoke with her and after reading your article, I’m fairly certain it’s coyotes. It’s not a pleasant sound and actually quite scary, but I am very glad it’s not any kind of animal in distress. We’ve heard it almost every night for a week now. Many residents here have dogs, but we never walk near the woods at night.

  10. Hi Shirley Cordova
    Thanks for sharing your experience with coyotes and reading my article.

  11. Late last night we were woken by a sound ive never heard before, Loud yipping not much barking. Our neighbor has chickens in his back yard. I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be a blood bath over there. When the sun comes up and I get brave enough to go look. I’ll let ya know

  12. soon after re-entering my house this morning at 3:00 am, in pretty quiet suburb of los angeles, ca. i heard very loud howling and yelping right outside the house in the street (i think). there were at least 2, or maybe 3 or 4. there are loose cats in the neighborhood, and occasionally racoons and a skunk. first time ever heard such. 10 sec. or less in duration.

  13. We are in northwestern pennsylvania. We live very rural. And they are howling and yipping and so on, often. Sometimes they seem very very close. That’s when we get concerned because of our two chihuahuas. Very good and helpful information. Thank you.

  14. Calvin Walsh Avatar
    Calvin Walsh

    I hunt coyotes. When ranchers lose calves to yotes, they call me. The last 2 years Ermine have cut the mice and vole population to almost nothing and coyotes are killing calves like never before. I use a Thermal scope and Monocular at night. I can see mice, voles, rabbits, grouse, and coyotes a long way away. Now the rodent numbers are starting to increase again, so next year I expect my phone to ring less during calving season. It has been 2 months since I saw the last weasel. Their numbers adjust when they run out of food, but killed 9 of my laying hens. I have been hunting since 1964. Livin the dream.

  15. Thanks for appreciating my work.

  16. Elizabeth Avatar

    Live near a river valley in Edmonton, used to take night walks down on the bike trail in the ravine to get away from people, one time I was walking and I heard what sounded like 15 coyotes howling and yipping at me, I was scared. 2 guys on mushrooms walked past and screamed at them and that shut them up, I felt like a chicken. I’m guessing after reading this article that there were only 7 or so, ha. Oddly enough, though, my scariest moment was with beavers, I was walking and heard big trees rustling and I thought it was something huge so I ran, came by during the next day and there were trees felled by beavers. I ran from beavers!!
    Another neat coyote story was when I was walking on that same bike path but at the top of the ravine not down in it, and across a street were houses. I saw a coyote matching my pace on the sidewalk by the houses while I walked on the bike path at the top of the ravine, I thought he looked really big but I bet it was mostly fur, I think he was using me to draw out smaller animals, clever things.
    Night walks, the best. Got less than 10 feet from a great grey owl perched on a playground device, I stood there for a minute and watched him. His head swiveled at me and swiveled back really fast, he din’t care about me. Then I walked away leaving him be. Great sighting.

  17. Thanks for sharing your story with us

  18. What frequency do coyotes howl?

  19. Coyotes howl between 100 to 150 Hz to more than 1,000 Hz for adults.

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