Coyote tracks have four toe marks in front of a single larger foot pad. The general shape is oblong, similar to an oval. They may have claw marks, but those are usually faint and may not be visible on harder ground.Continue Reading
Another distinctive feature of coyote prints is a larger front footpad when compared to the hind foot. The paw print is usually about 2.5 inches in length from the leading edge of the toe to the back of the footpad, although younger coyotes may have smaller prints. The prints are usually about 1.5 inches wide.
Coyote prints can be distinguished from other canine prints by the nail marks. Dogs and wolves typically have claw marks in front of all four toes. If the coyote's claws are visible at all, it is usually just the front two toes. Dogs and wolves also typically have a more round-shaped print and wider spread between the toes, while coyotes have more compact, oval-shaped tracks.
Coyote tracks are also sometimes found near those of wild cats, but the difference is easy to spot. Wild cats, such as mountain lions and bobcats, have four toes like the coyote but these are spread out in more of a line rather than an oblong grouping. There are no nail or claw marks, and the footpad is much wider. A cat's footpad also has three lobes while the coyote's only has two, but this may be difficult to see in some conditions.Learn more about Mammals