Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Biology (BIOL)

First Advisor

Dr. Melinda Weaver

Second Advisor

Dr. Eric Strauss


As a habitat generalist, coyotes are known to thrive in urban environments given the abundance and diversity of suitable food sources throughout the cityscape. Within Southern California, cats have been found to comprise a higher proportion of coyote diet than in other urban areas throughout the country. However, it is unclear what factors are contributing to these higher rates of cat depredation by coyotes in the Los Angeles region. While previous research suggests that coyote presence may have a negative effect on free-range cat distributions, few studies have determined whether urban green spaces affect coyote or free-range cat occurrence within a dominantly urban landscape. For this study, we set up 20 camera traps across a range of green spaces and residential sites in Culver City, California. Using data collected for six months, we conducted a preliminary analysis of the influence of green space on coyote and cat occupancy. Coyotes exhibited a preference for sites with higher green space values, while cats appeared largely unaffected by the proportion of green space. Unlike other cities where there is strong partitioning of the landscape by coyotes and cats, our cat distributions indicated substantial overlap with coyotes. We suggest that this pattern of overlap, as well as evidence of green space use by free-range cats, may be responsible for the increased rates of cat depredation by coyotes in Culver City.