Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for
Date of this Version
Coyotes (Canis latrans) have become common in many metropolitan areas across the United States. Recent research has focused on the urban ecology of coyotes to better our understanding of how they exist in urbanized landscapes. I summarize findings from a variety of ecological studies of coyotes in or near metropolitan areas, and focus on three areas of coyote ecology: survival rates, home range/activity, and food habits. Most studies have reported relatively high survival rates (annual S = 0.62 - 0.74), with vehicle collisions often a common cause of mortality. Size of coyote home ranges (mean home range sizes among urban studies ranged 5 - 13 km2) generally exhibit a negative trend with urbanization when compared to rural studies, but this is complicated by a trend within urban landscapes in which coyote home ranges tend to increase with fragmentation and development. Studies have consistently reported a decrease in diurnal activity with human use areas. Although coyotes in some areas avoid human use areas, they are nevertheless frequently in close proximity to people. Coyote food habits in urbanized areas are similar to rural areas, in which mammalian prey and vegetation (i.e., fruit) comprise most of the diet; however, there is a trend toward more anthropogenic items from more developed areas. The relatively small home-range sizes and high survival rates suggest coyotes are successful in adjusting to an urbanized landscape.
Published in the Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007.