An Ethogram Developed on Captive Eastern Coyotes Canis latrans

Jonathan G. Way, Dean-Lorenz M. Szumylo, Eric G. Strauss


We studied capture Eastern Coyotes (Canis latrans) from 27-585 days of age and compiled an ethogram on them. A total of 72247 15-sec samples were taken, amounting to 301 h of field time varying between 59.4–61.3 h per Coyote. A total of 540 behavioral patterns was observed amongst the 16 behaviour categories ranging from 9 (miscellaneous) to 72 (explore/investigate) action patterns per parent category. The 16 parent categories that we believed best described and appropriately sorted the behavioural actions were resting, sitting, sitting1, sitting2, standing, traveling, explore/investigating, hunting, feeding, infantile, greeting, self play, play initiating, playing, agonistic, and miscellaneous. Exploring accounted for >31% of all of the behaviours observed with resting and sitting (combined), standing, traveling, and play as categories decreasing in order of most to least frequent. Despite some omissions in our ethogram and drift associated with its ongoing development, we believe that the large amount of data collected made it rigorous enough to be a useful guide for the species. We argue that although future research will no doubt add to and/or modify components of it, its ease of use in the field (in captivity or in the wild) and it being the first complete ethogram described for the species, make it a useful tool for future researchers.


canid; Canis latrans; eastern Coyote; ethogram; behavioural study

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