U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Document Type


Date of this Version

November 2001


Published in Can. J. Zool. 79: 2005–2013 (2001).


We studied behavioral responses of captive and wild coyotes (Canis latrans) toward novel objects and artificial scent stations to determine how they might respond to novel stimuli used in coyote management and research. When captive coyotes encountered novel stimuli in unfamiliar surroundings they showed little avoidance, while the same stimuli caused avoidance and neophobic reactions among coyotes when encountered in familiar surroundings. In the field phase of the study, radio-collared coyotes in southern Texas were intensively monitored in order to relate space-use patterns to the locations where these coyotes were exposed to artificial scent stations. Coyotes were more likely to respond to and score (record visits by leaving tracks) at artificial scent stations when these were encountered outside or on the periphery of their home areas than when they were encountered within their home area. This suggests that indices of coyote abundance that employ responses to novel situations may more readily record coyotes that are outside the central portions of their home areas and that transient or dispersing coyotes are more likely to be “counted” than residents.