Food Habits and Anthropogenic Supplementation in the Diet of Coyotes (Canis latrans) Along an Urban-Rural Gradient
Type of Degreethesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Coyotes are recent colonists of the Southeast and have broadened their niche to include exploitation of urban areas. The aim of my study was to examine diet of coyotes inhabiting areas of differential development by humans and assess prevalence of anthropogenic feeding to detect a possible shift in dietary trends. In urban, exurban, and rural areas of east-central Alabama, 159 fecal samples were collected and examined to reconstruct the diet. Consumption of anthropogenic food did not vary significantly along an urban-rural gradient. Foods consumed were similar among habitats; coyotes consumed food items that were available. There was greater consumption of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in urban and rural areas than exurban areas, more feeding on insects in exurban areas than either urban or rural areas, and more consumption of vegetative matter in urban areas than in exurban or rural areas. While results of this study can provide insight to guide decisions about managing populations of urban-exurban coyotes in the Southeast, further research should be conducted in a diversity of developed areas to assist wildlife managers in evaluating strategies for managing populations of urban-exurban coyotes.