Why Do Coyotes Yip – Understanding Coyote Yipping Sounds

Because of their yips and howls, coyotes are often labelled the most vocal North American mammal.

But why do Coyotes yip and what do their Yipping sounds mean?

In this article, we will discover what the Coyote Yip’s actually mean and go deeper into why they might Yip During the Day or Night.


Why Do Coyote’s Yip?

Coyotes yip and bark to communicate with each other, to protect the pack’s borders, and to warn off intruders.

You can think of their yip as a form of long distance communication, or calling.

What do Coyote Yips Sound Like

Listen to These Audio Tracks of Different Coyote Yip’s

Multiple Coyotes Yipping


Single Coyote Yips and Barks


Coyotes have two different kinds of yips.

Group Yip-howl

The first is the group yip-howl. The group’s alpha male begins the group yip-howl with a long, high-pitched howl. The alpha female then joins in with her short, high-pitched yips, barks, and small howls.

Then, beta coyotes or older children in the pack insert their own yips and barks. Finally, the pups join in.

The result is a cacophony of long howls accented with short, high-pitched yips and accented with other yips from the area all around.

Because it sounds like the yips are coming from many different locations, the group yip-howl can give the impression of a large pack of coyotes.

But, this is often not the case.

Instead, coyotes fluctuate the pitch of their yips and barks, creating an audible illusion called the beau geste effect. This effect is what gives the impression that there are more coyotes in an are than there actually are.

Single yip-howl

The single coyote yip-howl is a mix of yips, barks, and howls produced by only one coyote.

A single yip-howl sounds different in that it is audibly smaller and sounds much more agitated and gruff.

Meant to warn potential intruders, the single yip-howl fluctuates in pitch. The higher the pitch of the yip-howl, the more agitated the coyote is.

Explore More: Why Do Coyotes Howl

Do Wolves Yip like Coyotes?

While the wolf’s and the coyote’s howls can seem identical, they are actually quite distinct.

The wolf’s howl is long and drawn-out with a low pitch. Unlike the coyote, the wolf’s howl includes growls and low, gruff barks. 

The coyote, on the other hand, has a shorter, higher howl that rapidly rises and falls in pitch. The coyote’s howl is also frequently interrupted by the chorus of small yips and barks.

What does the Coyote’s Yip Mean

Coyotes use this yip-howl as a way to communicate location and wellness with others within the pack—essentially, the yip is a “Hey, I’m over here, and I’m fine.”

The yip also helps to protect and establish the pack’s borders. The continual yip-howling helps to set up a sort of auditory fence that reinforces the pack’s scent around their territory boundaries.

Why Do Coyotes Yip in Packs?

Coyotes yip in packs to protect and establish their pack’s borders.

The continual yip-howling helps to set up a sort of auditory fence that reinforces the pack’s scent around their territory boundaries.

Do Coyotes Yip to attract their food?

The short answer is no. Coyotes do not yip to attract their food.

Coyotes prefer stealth when hunting for food. They’ll sneak up behind their prey and surprise attack. If they yipped to attract their food, they would essentially be announcing their presence and would scare away their prey.

Similarly, coyotes do not yip after a kill. Doing so would bring unwanted attention from other nearby hunting animals. They would much prefer to keep their kill to themselves.

But, if another predator appears and tries to steal the coyote’s kill, he will bark to protect his kill.

However, when they are in chasing their prey, coyotes will yip to communicate with each other. When in a full, running chase, the yips help the other coyotes determine the prey’s location and direction.

Why do Do Coyotes Yip at Night

Coyotes yip at night because they are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active at night.

Yipping allows the coyotes to communicate with the other members of the pack as they hunt down their prey in the dark.

Why do Coyotes Yip During the Day

The question remains: if the coyote is a nocturnal animal, then why do they yip during the day?

The answer is humans.

Even though they are nocturnal and not active during the day, coyotes will wake when they hear noises or feel like their boundaries are being threatened.

Coyotes will yip to warn off humans if they feel they are invading their territory. They will also yip to communicate with others in the pack and warn them of the nearby human.

Coyotes Yipping at Sirens

Siren wails will often cause a rambunctious and vigorous session of coyote yip-howling.

Scientists are still not entirely sure why coyotes yip at sirens. Recent theories are that coyotes respond to the siren because it sounds like an alpha’s howl, to warn fellow coyotes, or because the sound hurts their ears.

No matter the reason, scientists will often use sirens to locate coyotes or to count how many are in an area.