Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2021.


Copyright Mortensen 2021


Intraguild competition between predators may cause one predator to alter their temporal activity patterns or occupancy to reduce competition or avoid aggressive encounters. I conducted a temporal activity pattern and occupancy study of coyotes (Canis latrans) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in and around Lincoln, Nebraska using camera traps deployed from September of 2020 to May of 2021. I evaluated the activity patterns of coyotes, red foxes, and humans in urban and rural settings along with the activity patterns of red foxes when sympatric or allopatric with coyotes and determined the coefficient of overlap (Δ) between these various groups using kernel density estimators. I found that coyotes avoid humans temporally more intensely at rural sites (Δ1 = 0.157, 95% CI: 0.078 – 0.244) than at urban sites ( Δ1 = 0.446, 95% CI: 0.335 – 0.570). Coyotes and red foxes that were sympatric did not show statistically significant differences in activity patterns with a Δ1 = 0.689 (0.433 – 0.898, WT P > 0.10). Red foxes did not show statistically significant difference in activity patterns when sympatric or allopatric with coyotes with a Δ1 = 0.745 (0.528 – 0.926, WT P > 0.10). I used a single species model to evaluate factors influencing red fox occupancy. The urban model was most informative with ß = 9.85 (-52.09 – 71.8) for the urban covariate. Probability of red fox occupancy of an urban site was 0.785 (SE = 0.16) while just 0.0002 (SE = 0.006) for rural sites. This model paired with only four captures of rural red foxes and nine captures of red foxes sympatric with coyotes would suggest that spatial avoidance is more important than temporal avoidance in this system. However, future research should attempt to obtain more detections of both species at sites where they do coexist, as these areas may provide important insight into potential temporal niche partitioning between red foxes and coyotes across this urban-rural gradient.