Do Bears Eat Coyotes? Nature’s Carnivorous Duo

In the vast wilderness, where predators roam, and survival is a constant battle, nature’s intricate web of interactions never ceases to amaze us. Among these fascinating relationships is the age-old question: Do bears eat coyotes?

As two of North America’s most formidable predators, it seems only natural to wonder if their paths cross in a deadly showdown or if there exists a unique understanding between them.

Join us as we delve into the world of apex predators and explore the complex dynamics that shape their coexistence in the wild.

Do Bears Eat Coyotes?

Bears do eat coyotes; however, this is very rare as they don’t see coyotes as food but as competitors. Bears are known to be opportunistic predators and prefer to eat food that can be easily obtained, so they go after easy prey. They don’t like to spend more time and energy hunting another predator, such as a coyote. 

What Kind Of Bears Eat Coyotes?

Bears and coyotes share the same habitat in most parts of North America, so they encounter each other frequently and most of the times, their fight ends with blood. Let’s see which species of bears go after coyotes.

Grizzly Bears:

Being apex predators, grizzly bears are ranked high in their food chain as they have no natural predators.

Whenever there was an opportunity, grizzly bears, which are also known as brown bears, have shown the tendency to hunt and kill a coyote without mercy. Though they have both animal and plant matter in their diet, most of their diet derives from plant-based sources.

Grizzly bears (brown bears) do not actively hunt coyotes; they only consume coyotes when there is a scarcity in other varieties of food options. Sometimes, a grizzly bear may also kill a coyote during conflicts over carcasses or while defending their cubs.

Generally, grizzly bears prefer to chase larger fleeing animals such as deer, elk, moose, and bison. They prefer to be peaceful and mind their own business, but they can get extremely aggressive if they perceive a threat to their cubs or territory.

Also Read: Are Sun Bears Dangerous?

Black Bears:

Black bears are normally said to be shy and curious animals. They will resort to fleeing or climbing a tree when they feel threatened rather than get aggressive. Only around 5% of their diet comes from animals, so even though black bears eat coyotes, it is an infrequent occurrence.

A black bear’s diet can significantly vary depending on the location and season. So, even though they are known to consume more plant-based food, whenever food gets scarce, black bears feed on a variety of animals, including coyotes, beavers, squirrels, bobcats, voles, and occasionally wolves.

Do Bears Eat Dead Coyotes?

Bears are both opportunistic feeders and scavengers, so they take advantage of any food opportunity they find on their way. If that opportunity is a dead coyote, the bear will happily cherish it because bears believe that easy food is the best food, provided the carcass is fresh.

Bears have an outstanding sense of smell; in fact, it is their most vital sense and weapon against their enemies. They can detect the food smell from more than a mile away. Compared to us, bears’ smell receptors are 100 times more powerful, so they can easily track down their potential prey or food.

Bears can also steal food from other predators using this same weapon, their sense of smell (olfaction), as they have other physical advantages like physical size and strength. This is the reason why people always caution you when you camp in a bear-prone region.

How Do Bears Attack And Eat Coyotes?

Contrary to the popular notion, bears are not slow but are very efficient hunters. Despite their weight and shabby appearance, bears are good at hunting. A grizzly bear can reach a speed of 35 miles per hour, which is almost similar to the speed of coyotes.

However, due to their smaller build, coyotes can easily run at their top pace for a longer time, whereas bears cannot maintain the same.

Bears deploy the technique of grabbing coyotes by their back after a successful chase and proceed to devour the coyote while it is still alive, starting by biting the coyote’s neck.

Bears use their big, non-retractable claws to tear apart an animal’s skin while eating. One powerful blow of a bear’s claw is sufficient to kill much bigger animals than coyotes. But as bears are opportunistic creatures, they always prefer the least resistant way to find their food.

Also, coyotes are agile and challenging to hunt, so they are not among a bear’s preferred food sources.

Also Read: Do coyotes Eat Birds?

Can Coyotes Eat Bears?

Coyotes may not be apex predators and are less superior to bears, but there are instances where coyotes are seen hunting and eating bear cubs whenever they have an opportunity. They mainly target bear cubs when their mother is sleeping.

Coyotes are carnivorous animals and wouldn’t like to waste any opportunity to have some meat as it is their main source of survival.

Unfortunately, American black bear cubs are most vulnerable to coyote predation, and as if it isn’t enough, they are also predated by wolves, cougars, bobcats, eagles, and even other bears.

You may find it harsh, but it reminds you that nature can be ruthless.

Final Words:

Bears eat different varieties of food depending on their species and habitat. Though black and brown bears may eat coyotes occasionally, they don’t prefer to have them on a regular basis as these canines are not bear’s favorite.

In situations where food is scarce, a hungry bear may not mind having a coyote without any complaint. Also, an angry bear would kill a coyote while defending its cubs.

From fish and meat to berries and insects, everything comes under a bear’s platter as they are opportunistic creatures and adapt their food habits to their environment to survive.

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