Coyote Symbolism (6 Meanings) – Dreams & Spirit Animals

The coyote is an enigmatic animal in many ways. It’s a playful animal by nature, so we often connect it to the coyote symbolism of playfulness and trickery. On the other hand, it’s a very opportunistic animal, so the coyote can also symbolize patience, resourcefulness, and adaptability.

In any case, the coyote reminds you to see the positive side of yourself and not forget to have some fun in your life. At the same time, you should be adaptable and try and balance the serious part of yourself and your playful part. This animal has some complicated meanings that we’ll uncover later on.

Some cultures perceive the coyote to be a symbol of good luck, while some others see it as a sign of upcoming danger. In your dreams, the coyote might represent some level of discomfort in your emotional life. It might symbolize weakness or deception in one way or another.

 > This article is from our A-Z series on animal symbolism

Coyote Symbolism and Meaning

What does the coyote symbolize? Here are some of the most common meanings of the coyote.

1. Trickery

The coyote is a playful animal by nature. When it’s not hunting during the night, it will spend most of its days roaming around, playing with other coyotes. Even though many people perceive them to be aggressive and unwanted creatures, coyotes actually have more of a cheerful character.

And they’re quite deceptive, too. They’re efficient hunters, as they’re able to catch an adult deer, even if they’re significantly smaller in size. But what makes them symbols of trickery is the fact that they’ll deceive human beings in order to steal food from them. 

Coyotes are often found near farms and even larger populated areas. There were even some reports of sightings of coyotes in Los Angeles, which just goes to show how adaptable they are and how they are efficient at using their wits to get what they want.

2. Adaptability

In many Native American tales, coyotes are present as savvy and clever animals that are able to survive even where there seems to be no food to be found. Today, we can find them all across North America, although they were not as widely spread back in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Coyotes will spend most of their nights looking for food, wherever they might find themselves. If they’re in nature, they’ll look for prey such as smaller mammals and even birds. When they’re in urban areas, they’ll feed on leftovers they’ll find in garbage cans and all over the area.

Their population has become problematic for farmers. There have been demands to have their population reduced, as they often attacked the cattle and the farm animals all over America. Their widespread natural habitat and their ability to survive anywhere shows their strong sense of adaptability.

3. Patience

Coyotes are opportunistic animals. Often, they’re prepared to stalk and hunt their prey for hours if not days. And they’ll also wait for the right opportunity to go for broke when they’re in cities, which allows them to find food when there’s nobody around.

They’ll hunt on anything from rabbits, deer, snakes, insects, to pets and cattle. Their patient and adaptable nature allow them to survive in almost any type of habitat. This coyote symbols is telling you to wait for your opportunity and adapt to your surroundings when the opportunity arises.

4. Balance

These animals are playful by nature, although they know when to be wise, too. They are able to balance both sides of their characters. When they are not endangered, they may relax a little and exert their playful nature a bit more. But when they need to survive, they will use their wisdom and the more serious part of their character.

That’s why coyotes can lead you to listen to both sides of your personality. It’s never good to delve too deep into one of the two areas. Become too playful, and you lose the chance to advance in your personal and professional life. But if you’re too serious, you lose the lust for life and the many wonderful things that come with it.

5. Aggressiveness

Coyotes are territorial animals. They don’t like intruders into their territories, and they’ll attack them if they think they can beat them. Of course, that’s not always possible as they might come up against tougher and larger animals in the process. 

And because they attack pets and farm animals often, we perceive them to be a symbol of aggressiveness. However, it’s this mindset that makes them a fierce opponent in nature, and one that many other animals try to avoid.

6. Intelligence

Coyotes will mostly rely on their senses to find their bearings in nature and to find potential animals to hunt down. But often, they’ll have to resort to using their wits to overcome challenges in the wild.

We perceive the coyote to be highly intelligent when it comes to problem-solving. Even though they might not appear as such, they’re quite smart as to how they use their energy. They’ll mostly hunt at night because that’s when their senses kick into a higher gear. They know how to balance their playful nature with their strong intellectual properties.

White Coyote Symbolism

White coyotes symbolize the quality of good versus the quality of evil, which is represented by black coyotes. This white coyote symbolism is commonly seen in the Japanese culture, where the white coyote is seen as a positive symbol against the black coyote, which is thought to be an evil creature.

The white coyote also tells you that you will soon receive some help from God to move out of a difficult situation in your life. White animals are often closely connected to God and we may give them godlike meanings. The white coyote comes to your rescue when things get tough and there seems to be no escape.

Also, white coyotes also symbolize rarity. It’s an especially rare species to find in nature because coyotes like to keep hidden and do most of their work unnoticed. But it’s even rarer to come across a white coyote.

Coyote Native American Symbolism

For Native Americans, the coyote played a special role. It’s commonly present in many folk tales. They mostly perceived the coyote to be an intelligent, stealthy, and adaptable animal.

In many stories and tales, the coyote plays the role of a trickster who gets himself into awkward situations due to its playful character and often pays the price for it. Sometimes, it may get killed, but is then quickly resurrected.

In Pueblo tribes, the coyote is a symbol of healing. In the Western parts, the coyote is seen as a positive symbol – it’s a symbol of saviors that saved humanity from failing. In some cases, coyote symbolism might extend to the creator’s role.

Coyote Spirit Animal

If you have the coyote spirit animal, then it’s telling you to not take things so seriously all the time. Sometimes, it’s important to relax and listen to our inner playful nature in order to find some joy in life. But keeping a balance between your serious and playful sides is just as important, as it enables you to keep going.

You can call on the coyote spirit animal when you need to lighten things up and you need to make a change in how you feel. Even though we perceive it as a trickster, it can show you the way on how to relax and stop taking things so seriously.

Coyote Totem Animal

Those with the coyote totem animal tend to make wise decisions from a place of balance. Their appearance might often be deceiving, as they appear to be playful and overly childish, but are actually capable of making the right decisions at the right times.

However, people with the coyote totem animal are also capable of letting it go and relax when they need to. They won’t take life too seriously all the time, but they are perfectly capable of thriving when things get serious.

Dreams about Coyotes

What does the coyote represent in dreams?

  • Seeing a coyote in your dreams means that you’re experiencing spiritual growth. It’s telling you to adapt to the changes in life and make the most out of them so that you’ll be able to get more from life.
  • If a coyote attacks you in your dreams, then it means that you have a weakness in your character that’s coming back to haunt you. This might also represent your fears that you are currently experiencing.
  • The coyote in dreams also represents the playful part of yourself and reminds you not to take things so seriously.


coyote symbolismThe coyote symbolism is full of contradictions: on the one hand, it’s telling you to be more playful in your life, but on the other hand, you should take wise decisions when it matters. The coyote is symbolic of trickery and cunning, something they’ve been known for since the earliest Native American tribes.

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