Animals have long inspired tattoos, and wild animals like the coyote are popular symbols of strength and bravery. The coyote is a majestic yet dangerous wild animal and if you are interested in a striking tattoo that could symbolize nature, trickery, or strength, this tattoo might be right for you.
This article outlines all the possible meanings of a coyote tattoo and provides additional information about the animal so that you can see whether this type of tattoo is for you.
What is a Coyote?
The coyote (Canis latrans) is a type of canine that is closely related to the Eastern Wolf and Red Wolf. It is native to North America and there are large populations throughout the continent, as well as Mexico and Central America.
Like the raccoon and opossum, they are versatile, adaptable, and brave, and they are not scared to encroach into urban environments. In fact, they thrive where humans have modified the natural environment.
These animals are mostly carnivorous and are happy to eat deer, rabbits, reptiles, fish, and hares. They also feed on garbage thrown away by humans.
Coyotes are strikingly beautiful animals, with a strong and noble face, long ears, and a beautiful, speckled coat. Those that live at higher elevations tend to be greyer and blacker in color, while those living in the desert are a light grey hue or even grey-white color.
The History of the Coyote Tattoo
The word ‘coyote’ comes from the Spanish word coyote. The Spanish themselves adapted it from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Nahua people who live in Central Mexico. Their word is coyōtl.
They are a revered animal in the folklore of First Nations people who lived in northern Mexico and the southwestern regions of the United States.
According to their traditions, this animal is an untrustworthy trickster that can manifest itself as a canine or humanoid. People who choose to get a coyote tattoo tend to present it in the form of a canine.
What is the Symbolism of the Coyote Tattoo?
The coyote is associated with many symbols, including the trickster of First Nations people, as a representation of nature and an icon of military might. It is a symbol with both positive and negative connotations.
Here are some of the most popular reasons why people choose this type of tattoo:
1. It represents the trickster in all of us
In most cultures, the trickster is smart and cunning and often uses secret knowledge to make a joke at others’ expense. This is true of the coyote from First Nations culture and traditions.
2. It is a rebel
The trickster is a rebel against society’s rules. Breaking both physical and social conventions, it is a symbol of agitation against the conventional way of doing things and the implementation of a new social order.
3. It shows us the power of nature
As a potent carnivore that thrives at the top of the food chain, the coyote symbolizes the power of nature and the important part it plays in our lives.
4. It is a symbol of military might
For the people who are native to Central America and Southern Mexico, the coyote is a symbol of military might and the courage to come up against stronger foes. This imagery was developed during the time of the Spanish conquest.
5. It represents strength, cunning, and intellect
Some First Nations stories have the coyote as a wise counselor, using his attributes of cunning and intellect, and adaptability to provide wisdom.
6. It is associated with greed, sexual excess, and lies
The animal is also symbolic of some of humanity’s worse characteristics. Thanks to its cunning and exceptional hunting ability, it can represent dominance that has been taken to excess.
Why is the Coyote a Popular Tattoo Choice?
This type of tattoo is popular for many reasons, including:
- It can be hyper-realistic or stylized and cartoonish
- It can be small and subtle or act as a featured tattoo on your body
- It is an authentic representation of First Nations culture and spirituality
- It has both negative and positive connotations
- The wearer can be feared, admired, and respected
- It can symbolize many different things.
If you’re a fan of tattoos that are brimming with symbolism, this tattoo might be right for you.
What types of Coyote tattoos are there?
If you are attracted to realism, a naturalistic style might be best for you. This is particularly apt if your tattoo symbolizes strength, adaptability, or the power of nature.
If you are interested in the coyote’s status as a trickster or an animal of cunning and intelligence, you might and a stylized or cartoonish depiction.
It is popular to pair your tattoo with a full moon and cactus, perhaps also in a desert landscape.
The most popular tattoos have the coyote in a pacing pose, or sitting with its head pointed to the sky, howling at the moon.
What are the Best Locations for a Coyote Tattoo?
There is no ‘best’ location for a Coyote tattoo, but there is a ‘best’ location for you depending on the symbolism of your tattoo.
Coyote tattoos are typically inked in a prominent place like the forearm or shoulder.
However, if your coyote is more of a rebel than a symbol of nature or strength, what better opportunity is there than to have a tattoo in an unusual location like the nape of your neck, your collarbone, or even the roof of your mouth?
The most important thing to consider when deciding where to place your tattoo is whether it makes you happy and feels right for you.
So, is a Coyote Tattoo Right for You?
When considering getting a tattoo, it’s always worth taking the time to research the symbolism and what it means. A coyote tattoo can represent both positive and negative elements of our lives, including the power of nature, rebellion, strength, as well as the vices of excess.
If you have an unconventional streak and enjoy living your life left-of-center, this might be the tattoo for you!