Home Range, Activity Patterns, and Habitat Selection of the Coyote (Canis latrans) Along an Urban-Rural Gradient
Type of Degreethesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Throughout the past several decades, coyotes (Canis latrans) have become common inhabitants of urban areas in the southeastern United States. Because their southward expansion is recent, there is a lack of information on movements of urban coyotes in the Southeast. I examined seasonal variation in size of home range, activity patterns, and habitat selection along an urban-rural gradient in east-central Alabama during 2007-2009. I created an urban-rural gradient based on percentage of urban land-cover in coyote home ranges. Percentage of urbanization in home ranges was 2-45%. Both composite and breeding season home ranges decreased as percentage of urbanization within the home range increased. However, models indicate that there was no difference in home range size along the gradient during pup-rearing and dispersal seasons. Mixed logistic-regression models indicated that coyotes along the gradient were active at similar times during all seasons. Along the gradient, coyotes avoided areas of high-, medium-, and low-intensity urbanization. As the percentage of urbanization within a home range increased, coyotes selected for hardwoods and for habitats near sources of water, while they selected against natural pine forests. Information presented in this study will allow biologists and resource managers to gain an understanding of movements of coyotes in urban areas and will be helpful in predicting and mitigating potential human-coyote interactions in the Southeast.