Great Basin Naturalist


Summer food habits of coyotes (Canis latrans) were investigated on a 3100-km2 area in central Wyoming, divided into one deer-use area and five non-deer areas. Analysis of 404 scats (fecal samples) revealed an overall average of 63 percent occurrence of native ungulates, 63 percent leporids, 46 percent rodents, 14 percent livestock, and 11 percent birds. Pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana) was the ungulate most frequently consumed, occurring in about 87 percent of the scats. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) occurred in only 8 percent, and in 5 percent the native ungulate remains were not identifiable beyond order. This large percentage of big game in the diet is apparently unusual, because big game has been of minor importance in most coyote food-habit studies. The high incidence of leporids is consistent with other studies performed in arid intermountain areas. Although cricetines, especially deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), were trapped consistently in all habitats, months, and trapping areas, they were found in scats at a lower frequency than microtines and sciurids. This suggests a coyote hunting strategy that selected for the latter two groups.