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Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 655–663 | Cite as

Diet of Florida coyotes in a protected wildland and suburban habitat

  • Melissa M. GrigioneEmail author
  • Prabir Burman
  • Sarah Clavio
  • Steve J. Harper
  • Denara Manning
  • Ronald J. Sarno
Article

Abstract

Coyotes (Canis latrans) arrived to Florida (USA) in the 1960s and are currently found throughout most of the state. The purpose of this study was to determine if the diet of Florida coyotes differed between suburban and wildland habitat types or across seasons. Fresh coyote fecal samples were collected from wildland and suburban habitats in Pinellas County, Florida (USA; 27°54′N, 82°41′W) from May 2005 to March 2007. Diet items in the 49 wildland and 71 suburban samples were identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level by gross morphological characteristics and medullary configurations of dorsal guard hairs. A Poisson regression was utilized to determine the main and interactive effects of habitat and season on the number of different food items per sample. Coyotes in the wildland habitat had greater diet diversity than suburban coyotes. In addition, anthropogenic waste was recovered over twice as often from coyote fecal samples collected in the suburban habitat. In the wildland habitat, vegetative matter (96%), Insecta (53%), and Rodentia (45%) were recovered most often, as opposed to berries (56%) and Lagomorpha (32%) in the suburban habitat. In both habitats, vegetative matter, berries, and Lagomorpha were recovered most often from coyote fecal samples, whereas Odocoileus virginianus, Lagomorpha, and berries varied the most between wet and dry seasons. This study suggests that as urbanization increases, diet diversity for the coyote will likely decrease and consumption of anthropogenic items will likely increase. As a result of this, human–coyote conflicts may become more common—particularly in counties, like Pinellas, that are undergoing urbanization.

Keywords

Canis latrans Carnivores Coyotes Diet Florida Urban ecology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Jay Jones, Catherine Hughes, and Michelle Dachsteiner for their assistance in the field and laboratory. We express appreciation to Dr. Bruce Rinker and the staff at Brooker Creek Preserve for providing access to the Preserve, use of an ATV, and for being an integral part of this study. We are grateful for the assistance of Pinellas County Animal Control, specifically Kenny Mitchell, Dr. Welch Agnew, and Richard Stahl. Lastly we would like to express our sincere thanks to Pinellas County for funding this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa M. Grigione
    • 1
    Email author
  • Prabir Burman
    • 2
  • Sarah Clavio
    • 3
  • Steve J. Harper
    • 4
  • Denara Manning
    • 3
  • Ronald J. Sarno
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of BiologyPace UniversityPleasantvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversity of California-DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  4. 4.Pinellas County Environmental Management Environmental LandsTarpon SpringsUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA

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