Date of this Version
Four individually penned coyotes (Canis latrans) that had learned to kill live domestic rabbits for food were presented with one black and one white rabbit during daily 1-hour sessions and punished by a brief, severe shock from a high-voltage collar each time they attacked the black rabbit. One coyote did not learn the color association; after three shocks; it refused to kill either rabbit for 10 days but killed both indiscriminately when retested 4 weeks later. The other three coyotes learned to avoid black rabbits after only three to five shocks and, when repeatedly retested without shock at several-week intervals, did not begin killing them again until 3 to 9 months later. These animals' rapid acquisition and long retention of an avoidance response to a certain class of prey suggests a potential for aversive stimuli to reduce coyote attacks on livestock.