Home Range, Habitat Use, and Nocturnal Activity of Coyotes in an Urban Environment

  • Grinder M
  • Krausman P
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Coyotes (Canis latrans) are common residents of many urban areas in North America, but little is known about how they have adapted to urbanization. With increasing urban sprawl, it is important to understand how and why animals are using urban landscapes. We studied radiocollared coyotes in Tucson, Arizona, USA, from October 1996 to December 1998 to detennrmine home range size, habitat use, and nocturnal movement patterns in 7 habitat patch types: natural, commercial, parks, vacant, residential, washes, and roads. Home ranges of resident coyotes averaged 12.6 km2 (range = 1.7 to 59.7 km2). Home ranges encompassed a smaller portion of natural patches and a larger proportion of park and residential areas than were available in the study area. Coyotes used habitat patch types within the home ranges in proportion to their availability, except during the dispersal season, when coyotes selected natural areas and washes and avoided park and residential areas. We used radiolocation data from 120 nighttime observation sessions of 11 animals to determine nocturnal movement patterns. Rates of movement peaked at 2300 and 0500 hr. Rates of movement did not differ among habitat patch types. Individuals moved minimum distances of 1.3 to 6.2 km during the night. Coyotes were most active at night from 2200 to 2400 hr. Disturbances associated with urbanization are multi-scaled and widespread; therefore, wildlife biologists and managers should study habitat use by urban wildlife at multiple scales.

Author-supplied keywords

  • arizona
  • canis latrans
  • coyote
  • habitat use
  • home range
  • native vegetation to
  • remnant areas with sufficient
  • tucson
  • urban
  • wildlife managers are faced
  • with managing

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  • Martha I Grinder

  • Paul R Krausman

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