Coyotes and Drinking (How Do They Stay Hydrated?)

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Published on October 7, 2021
Last Updated on October 11, 2023

Coyotes must stay hydrated to survive. If they fail to consume enough water, they can grow dehydrated. If a coyote becomes dehydrated, it can become life-threatening. Luckily, coyotes are adaptive, and they can find a water source in any climate.

The main water sources for coyotes are natural water bodies like ponds and rivers. Not all climates offer large water bodies. Secondary water sources include hydrating foods like cactus, melons, and figs.

The amount of options coyotes have makes it difficult for coyotes to become dehydrated. They are strategic scavengers who can find a water source in even the most remote desert climates.

Do Coyotes Drink Water?

Coyotes drink water from water bodies like creeks, ponds, and even puddles to stay hydrated.

Water sources can be difficult to find for coyotes in some climates like deserts and frozen tundras. When water becomes scarce, coyotes use their scavenging abilities to hydrate with other resources.

How Often Do Coyotes Need To Drink?

Coyotes require water each day, no matter what climate they take residence. The coyote doesn’t need to drink water from water bodies each day. The way this wild canine gets its water can vary. 

Seeking water in urban areas during the day is uncommon for coyotes since they want to avoid human confrontation. Instead, coyotes will eat hydrating foods.

Can A Coyote Go Without Water For A Long Time?

Coyotes may go without directly drinking water for a long time. Instead of drinking, coyotes will stay hydrated by eating foods with high moisture content.

The way coyotes rehydrate by eating hydrating food is related to their adaptive capabilities. It’s one of the reasons that coyotes exist in almost all climates.

How Do Coyotes Get Water? How Do They Drink?

Physically, the coyote drinks like the domestic dog by lapping up water with their tongue. The curling action pulls large gulps of water into their mouth.

The overall ability of the coyote to intake water is also similar to the domestic dog as well. Like domestic dogs, coyotes do not just need to drink water to meet their daily water intake needs. Coyotes will eat hydrating foods, drink collected rainwater, and dig for natural springs. 

The way a coyote receives their water depends on the available resources. Typically, when there is a readily accessible water source, coyotes will use that water source to stay hydrated. That is, as long as large predators do not push them away from that area. 

On the other hand, in residential areas, water is not always available to coyotes. In places with no accessible water bodies, they will turn to other options, like drinking from collected rainwater.

Eating Hydrating Foods

Eating hydrating food is the coyote’s most common way to become hydrated, especially when large water bodies cannot find them.

Coyotes are opportunistic eaters. So, the hydrating foods that coyotes eat rely on what is available to them. 

Common hydrating fruits include: 

  • Nuts (variety)
  • Figs
  • Cactuses
  • Melon (cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.)

Coyotes are opportunistic eaters who feast on anything that presents itself to them. Generally, coyotes will eat any food source containing water.

Drinking from Water Sources

Coyotes will drink water normally out of water bodies. Water bodies are their primary water source, and they are highly skilled at finding them anywhere they go. Searching for water, food, and other resources comes naturally to this wild canine.

As scavengers, they can also use strategic scavenging methods to find water in dry climates. These smart creatures know where to find water sources, including cattle water tanks.

Common water sources include:

  • Ponds, rivers, lakes, etc.
  • Swimming pools
  • Sprinklers
  • Cattle tanks
  • Dog water dishes

The resilient stomachs of coyotes make them capable of drinking from nearly any water source without experiencing any side effects. 

Urban Sources

Coyotes drink from collected water sources and other urban resources to maintain hydration levels. Coyotes search urban areas for water during the nighttime, which is one of the main reasons humans do not encounter coyotes when searching for water.

Common urban water sources include:

  • Birdbaths
  • Dog or cat bowls
  • Rainwater collection
  • Swimming pools
  • Water fountains
  • Children’s toys
  • Sprinklers 

Remember, coyotes carry many harmful diseases. In urban areas, coyotes will capitalize on your dog’s convenient outdoor water bowls. Change outdoor water bowls frequently to avoid having your dog catch a fatal disease or illness from coyotes.

Last Resorts

The last resort for coyotes when they cannot find a water source is digging holes themselves to find a natural underground spring. Digging for an underground spring can take longer, but it can result in a good amount of water that can last for a steady amount of time.

Coyotes may also drink morning dew to hydrate themselves. Licking morning dew helps coyotes gain small amounts of clean water and hydrate themselves in small amounts for the day (and night!). However, this does not hydrate them fully and only occurs early in the morning when most coyotes have already gone to sleep.

Can Coyotes Find Water In Dry Climates?

Coyotes can easily find water in dry climates by digging or eating moisture-rich food. These wild canines are scavengers, capable of finding resources anywhere.

If they cannot find water in dry areas, they may dig until they find a natural water spring. The natural water springs can provide coyotes continuous water supplies throughout dry spells. Plus, this is a form of accessing water that coyotes can tap into anywhere they are, whenever it is necessary. 

Can They Drink Salt Water or Dirty Water?

Coyotes are intelligent canines that can ingest stagnant water without any side effects. The coyote’s lead stomach lets them consume almost any kind of water, including dirty water.

Saltwater can result in diarrhea for coyotes. Ultimately, excessive saltwater intake can result in fatality. These wild coyotes often use grass and clean water to flush their stomachs. However, there is no way to cure saltwater poisoning naturally for wild coyotes.

Coyotes are intelligent enough to distinguish the difference between tainted water and drinkable water. Because of their intelligence, saltwater poisoning and bacterial poisoning are uncommon for the coyote.


  • Tommy

    Hi, I'm Tommy! I'm the founder of I am an animal enthusiast and self-proclaimed wildlife expert as well as a dog trainer and breeder of the breed Löwchen. Since I was a kid, I’ve been wildly fascinated by animals, both from growing up in a rural area where there were always animals around, but especially from seeing them in the wild.

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