Eastern Coyotes (Canis latrans var.) consuming large ungulates in a multi-ungulate system
Keywords:Canis latrans, Coyote, Eastern Coyote, Alces americanus, Moose, diet, feeding ecology, foraging ecology, feeding habits, Quebec
The feeding habits of generalist predators often vary among populations and regions. For example, Coyote (Canis latrans), which is a generalist predator distributed across North America, occupies a wide range of habitats and has a highly varied diet. In this observational study, we quantified the presence of mammalian prey items in 50 Eastern Coyote (Canis latrans var.) scats collected in late spring and summer in a private game reserve in southwestern Quebec. Nearly all scats contained hair of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus; 44%), Moose (Alces americanus; 38%), or American Beaver (Castor canadensis; 38%). Although all three species are known to be consumed by coyotes, such a high proportion of Moose and White-tailed Deer simultaneously occurring in the diet of coyotes has not been previously reported. The uniqueness of the study area, with its relatively high abundance of all three prey species, may account for the uniqueness of the diet of Eastern Coyotes living there.
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