Hyena vs Coyote [Differences & Strength Comparison]


Hyenas and Coyotes are both capable and fearsome predators in their own right.  They each have traits that make them unique. One question that may come up when thinking of these two animals is which one would exactly win in a fight.

In this article, we will compare the specifics of what makes a coyote a coyote and a hyena a hyena and a wolf before finally figuring out which one will win in a fight. For hyenas, there are four main members in the family, but we will just focus on Spotted Hyenas which are the largest.

What is a Hyena?

Hyenas, or hyaenas (family Hyaenidae) are carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae found in Asia and Africa. Hyenas are small, omnivorous African mammals that look a lot like dogs, but are closely related to felines and viverrids. There are three hyena species — spotted, brown, and striped. Spotted hyenas are the largest of the three. All hyenas are more or less nocturnal.

What is a Coyote?

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a species of canine native to North America. The coyote stands about 60 cm (24 inches) at the shoulder, weighs about 9–23 kg (20–50 pounds), and is about 1–1.3 metres (3.3–4.3 feet) long, including its 30–40-cm tail. These members of the dog family once lived primarily in open prairies and deserts, but now roam the country’s forests and mountains. The coyote, whose name is derived from the Aztec coyotl, is found from Alaska southward into Central America but especially on the Great Plains.

SizeSpotted Hyena’s get 3.1 to 5.4 feet long3.3 to 4.3 feet long
WeightSpotted Hyenas can range from 88 to 190 lbs.20 to 50 pounds
HeightSpotted hyenas are about 2.5 to 2.6 feet long24 inches
HabitatAfrica/Woodlands, sub deserts, grasslands, savannas, woodlands, mountains up to 13000 ftNorth America/Deserts, Prairies, Urban areas with people
Bite Power1100 psi88 PSI
Speed37 mph35 to 43 mph
ColorSpotted hyenas are spotted with a sandy, yellow, or grey coat complete with dark brown or black spotsCombination of gray, brown, red, white
SoundCackling LaughGrowling, Laughing, Screaming, Whining, Barking, Yipping,
PawsPaws with four toes and non-retractable clawsLarge oval paw with four toes. Less space between the toes. Also has a prominent heel
SensesKeen sense of smell, hearing, and sight.Keen sense of smell, hearing, and sight.

Hyena vs Coyote

In this section, we will take a deeper look at the chart and delve into the differences between a hyena and a coyote.

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Hyena vs Coyote: Family

The interesting thing about hyenas is that while they look like a mix of a cat or dog, they do not belong to either of those families. They actually belong to the Hyaenidae family that is a part of the Carnivora family. In total there are four members of the Hyaenidae family, and this includes the brown hyena, aardwolf, striped hyena, and spotted hyena. Spotted hyenas are the largest while aardwolves are the smallest.

Coyotes or Canis latrans are in the canine family. They are native to North America and have a total of 19 subspecies. It is more than the hyena who only has four! Do not count the hyenas out yet though. They are a tough group of animals.

Hyena vs Coyote: Size

We are focusing on the spotted hyena for the rest of this article so recall that they are the largest out of the four that can be found in the hyena family. Spotted hyenas can get up to 5.4 feet long. It is a pretty decent size if you think about it! The total range is from 3.1 to 5.4 feet for an adult.

If you look at coyotes, you will see that they are significantly smaller than hyenas. The adult coyotes usually can get to about 3.3 to 4.3 feet long. That gives the hyena at least a whole foot of an advantage over coyotes. Both these sizes include the tail in its measurement so keep that in mind as all.


Hyena vs Coyote: Weight

When you consider the weight of something, you are talking about how heavy a creature or object is. Coyotes are smaller so it should not be shocking that they weigh less then hyenas.  These crafty canines can get up to 50 pounds. The actual weight range is about 20 to 50 pounds. This can roughly be the same size as a medium sized dog.

Spotted hyenas can get up to almost four times the size of a coyote. Their total weight as an adult ranges from 88 to 190 pounds. Compared to a coyote, hyenas are massive and easily dwarf them with their total height. The only one of the hyena family that would weigh less than a coyote is the smallest one, which is the Aardwolf. They only get up to about 30 pounds.

Hyena vs Coyote: Height

For hyenas, it should be no surprise that they tower over coyotes. This is similar to how they are heavier than them! A spotted hyena can get up to about 2.5 to 2.6 feet long. Yes, you read that right. Feet and not inches unlike the coyote.

If you are trying to figure out the height of something, then you are trying to figure out how tall the creature is while it is standing on all of its legs. Coyotes reached up to about 24 inches tall. This is measured from around the shoulder of the animal.

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Hyena vs Coyote: Habitat

Hyenas are mostly found in Africa, which probably is not surprising since this is typically the place where you think of where they are from. They can survive in woodlands, sub deserts, savannas, grasslands, woodlands, and even mountains up to about 13,000 feet.

When it comes to Coyotes, you can find them all over North America. Sure, in certain areas they are more common than others, but they can be found all over the continent of North America. They can be found in cities, suburbs, farms, or rural areas. While these animals do tend to prefer open areas like prairies and the desert, they can survive almost anywhere.

Hyena vs Coyote: Food

The diet of a hyena is basically meat because they are carnivores or meat eaters. They can eat giraffes, birds, gazelles, zebras, warthogs, wild dogs, antelopes, wildebeest, and insects. Another thing they can eat is also scavenged food because they are scavengers.

Coyotes are omnivores meaning they eat both meat and plants. They eat rabbits, dead animals, chickens, deer, rats/mice, watermelons, and berries. This gives them a more varied diet compared to a hyena who just eats meat.

Both animals are pretty amazing in their own right though! They both do what they have to, to survive so no one can shame them for that.

Hyena vs Coyote: Bite Power

For hyenas, it should be no surprise that their bite power is beyond powerful. Their psi is around 1100, which is many, many times stronger than the coyotes. They eat such animals like warthogs and wildebeests, which are pretty tough animals to take down. Naturally, they are going to need a powerful psi in order to hunt those animals which are their prey.

The bite power of an animal or pressure per square inch is basically how powerful one of their bites are. A coyote’s bite power is about 88. Given that they tend to eat smaller animals and plants, it makes sense that it might be on the less powerful side when you consider hyenas.

Hyena vs Coyote: Speed

Spotted hyenas can get all the way up to 37 mph when they are running at their full speed. This is not exactly the fastest out there, but hyenas are hefty animals so there is a lot of weight for them to carry.

Surprisingly, coyotes are faster than hyenas but really think about it. They are much smaller and nimble animals. Of course, they would end up being faster than hyenas. The speeds for a coyote tend to range between 35 to 43, 43 being the fastest they can get.

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Hyena vs Coyote: Color

When it comes to spotted hyenas, you should not be surprised that they are spotted. Their coat is actually a sandy, yellow, or grey coat that has dark brown or black spots all over their fur. They may not have the floor red in their fur like coyotes, but they are still pretty impressive in their own right.

For coyotes, their color is usually a mixture of colors all at once. Their fur can be a mixture of grey, brown, red, white, etc. The most impressive thing is that you can find such a combination of colors.

Hyena vs Coyote: Sound

When you think of a hyena and the sounds they make, the first thing you think of is the laugh that hyenas make. This is one of the more popular or well-known facts about this animal. It does have a big ring of truth to it, because spotted hyenas are very well known for their cackling laugh out of all the other hyenas in the family.

Coyotes make similar noises to other canines like wolves, dogs, etc. They can make noises like whining, barking, laughing, screaming, yipping, and growling. It is nothing as unique as a hyena and their cackling laugh.


Hyena vs Coyote: Paws

One of the more interesting things about a hyena has to do with their legs. Interestingly enough, the front legs of a hyena are longer than its back legs. When it comes to their paws, they have about four toes with claws that are non-retractable.

Coyotes have a typical canine type of paw, but it is a little different if you compare it to say a dog, cat, or something similar. They have four toes on each paw but unlike dogs they have more of a prominent heel and less space between the toes than other canines do.

Hyena vs Coyote: Senses

Similar to coyotes, hyenas also have keen senses of hearing, sight, and smell. All of these senses help them take down their prey. Their most powerful sense might be their hearing, which enables them to hear over a distance of up to 10 km or 6.21 miles.

Coyotes have pretty decent senses like most other animals in the canines family do as well. They have a keen sense of hearing, sight, and smell that is far superior to our own. While it may not be as strong as some animals, it still is impressive and helps them easily knab their prey.

Who Would Win in a Fight? Hyena or Coyote

So now we reach the ultimate question that we posed in the start of this article. While both of these animals are great, only one of them is going to come out on top. Who does this honor go to? Well, it goes to the hyena.

If there was a fight between a hyena and a coyote, the hyena will win the crown for sure. Now, coyotes do have their agility. Coyotes are faster than hyenas and could theoretically attempt to flee from them if there were to ever be a fight. However, hyenas have a powerful bite and are bigger and heavier. They could have a good chance at chasing down a coyote and if they did, then it’s over for the coyote.

They are just too small to be able to survive an attack by a hyena.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it dear readers. You learned the differences between these two animals and got an answer to who would be the true winner between a fight featuring a coyote and hyena. While coyotes are impressive, they are much smaller than hyenas. This makes the hyena the obvious winner in a fight between these two animals.

Consider their bite power alone! It’s at 1100 psi. Not many animals could be able to withstand such a powerful bite.

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