Coyote symbolism represents family, adaptability, and playfulness. Coyotes aren’t domestic animals but are common in urban and rural areas throughout the Americas.

What Does a Coyote Symbolize?


The coyote is one of life’s most adaptable animals, capable of being a hero, villain, creator, or confabulator. Native American myths portrayed the coyote as an evil and cunning symbols of betrayal but also as clever and often successful in its endeavors. Circumstances determined the meaning of the individual coyote.


Coyotes, the pups in particular, are known for their playful demeanor. The coyote and its spirit are known for their playful behavior.

Those who associate with the animal may be on the more playful side. But encountering one could be a sign that you’ve been too serious lately.


Being so adaptable requires coyotes to be clever. They must be willing and able to pivot quickly and change their approach to any situation.

This isn’t always a positive trait, however. In being clever, coyotes are also known to be ruthless and to put their needs above all others.

Hidden Truths

Associated with shamanic wisdom and spirituality, the coyote often represents missed messages or hidden truths. If you encounter coyotes in your dreams, it is usually a sign that there is something you are overlooking. It could also indicate that something will come into your life soon, and you need to stay alert.


Coyotes are also known for their resourcefulness and ability to get things done where other animals might fail. They are the ultimate opportunists, which can lead to them having a bad name in some circles. Scavengers may be looked down upon by others in the food chain, but they serve a vital purpose in life’s processes and nature’s ecosystem.

Coyote Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings

Coyote Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings

Native American Culture

What Native American tribes believe about the coyote depends on the specific tribe, with some believing the animal represents evil and cunning. In contrast, others think it portrays playfulness and a sense of lightheartedness.

In all Native American cultures, however, the coyote is significant. Whether they consider the animal good or bad, all Native American tribes recognize the coyote’s ability to adapt quickly and respect the animal’s adaptability. It is seen as something to be emulated, at least in that one trait.

African Culture

Represented as Anubis, the coyote symbolizes the God of death in African culture. Ancient Egyptians depicted Anubis as a man with a coyote’s or wolf’s head. The creature known as Anubis was eventually replaced by Osiris, who weighs the heart at death and determines whether a soul will be admitted to heaven.  

Central American Culture

The Aztecs view coyotes as merrymakers or bringers of joy. They believe the animals are carefree, teaching those who will follow them how to seek enjoyment through song and dance.


Buddhism associates the coyote with death. The depiction, however, is not always negative. It’s often believed to be related to meditations on death and learning how to deal with this final transition from life into its aftermath.


Christianity also views the coyote as a sign of death, but almost always in a negative light. While the coyote is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, the jackal, a similar animal, is and depicts death and destruction.


Hinduism also writes about jackals rather than coyotes, which are signs of death and destruction, but in a positive light. The Hindu culture prevents killing jackals, coyotes, and other wild dogs as they are seen as symbols of good in this religion.

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