We examined the diet of a portion of Calgary’s urban coyotes to provide baseline data on feeding ecology, to determine spatial and seasonal effects on diet, and to assess whether anthropogenic food sources (primarily garbage) and domestic cats or dogs were part of coyote diet. Bi-weekly surveys of seven study sites were conducted between August 2006 and September 2007. We analyzed 484 coyote scats. The top five prey types consumed by the coyotes studied were small mammals (84.71%), herbaceous plants (44.63%), crabapples (33.88%), woody plants (16.94%) and anthropogenic food sources (14.05%). Domestic animals – cats (Felis catus) and dogs (Canis familiaris) – were found in 6 scats (1.24% of all scats sampled). Large parks had the greatest amount of scats containing native berries (χ26=1700, p<0.001) while smaller parks had higher levels of crabapples (χ26=3700, p<0.001) and anthropogenic content (χ26=413.4, p<0.001) in scats. Scats containing domestic animals were relatively few, highly localized and occurred primarily in the Calgary neighbourhood with the most frequent reports of aggression/predation behaviour in coyotes. Herbaceous plants (χ22=89.273, p<0.001), crabapples (χ22=5023, p<0.001) small mammals (χ22=755.3, p<0.001) and anthropogenic food sources (χ22=183.9, p<0.001) were all consumed most during the Dispersal season. Woody plants (χ22=998.0, p<0.001) were consumed significantly more during Pup-Rearing. Coyotes in Calgary consume predominantly natural prey items. However, the presence of anthropogenic food items in 14% of scats suggests heightened risk of food conditioning, a potential for habituation to humans, which can increase human-coyote conflict. We recommend stricter enforcement of garbage laws, responsible husbandry practices with domestic pets (leash animals), and targeted educational campaigns.
Lukasik, Victoria M. and Alexander, Shelley M.
"Spatial and Temporal Variation of Coyote (Canis latrans) Diet in Calgary, Alberta,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol4/iss1/8