Fine-scale movements and behaviors of coyotes (Canis latrans) during their reproductive period
College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
In canids, resident breeders hold territories but require different resources than transient individuals (i.e., dispersers), which may result in differential use of space, land cover, and food by residents and transients. In the southeastern United States, coyote (Canis latrans) reproduction occurs during spring and is energetically demanding for residents, but transients do not reproduce and therefore can exhibit feeding behaviors with lower energetic rewards. Hence, how coyotes behave in their environment likely differs between resident and transient coyotes. We captured and monitored 36 coyotes in Georgia during 2018–2019 and used data from 11 resident breeders, 12 predispersing residents (i.e., offspring of resident breeders), and 11 transients to determine space use, movements, and relationships between these behaviors and landcover characteristics. Average home range size for resident breeders and predispersing offspring was 20.7 ± 2.5 km² and 50.7 ± 10.0 km², respectively. Average size of transient ranges was 241.4 ± 114.5 km². Daily distance moved was 6.3 ± 3.0 km for resident males, 5.5 ± 2.7 km for resident females, and 6.9 ± 4.2 km for transients. We estimated first-passage time values to assess the scale at which coyotes respond to their environment, and used behavioral change-point analysis to determine that coyotes exhibited three behavioral states. We found notable differences between resident and transient coyotes in regard to how landcover characteristics influenced their behavioral states. Resident coyotes tended to select for areas with denser vegetation while resting and foraging, but for areas with less dense vegetation and canopy cover when walking. Transient coyotes selected areas closer to roads and with lower canopy cover while resting, but for areas farther from roads when foraging and walking. Our findings suggest that behaviors of both resident and transient coyotes are influenced by varying landcover characteristics, which could have implications for prey.
Ecology and Evolution
Fine-scale movements and behaviors of coyotes (Canis latrans) during their reproductive period.
Ecology and Evolution,
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© 2021. The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7777