Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Daniel M. Kashian


Coyote distribution and habitat use, diet and foraging behavior and space use patterns were investigated in the greater Detroit area of southeastern Michigan. We found evidence of coyotes on 24 of 30 (80%) suburban and 7 of 11 (64%) urban plots. Overall fifty-eight percent of coyote evidence was found within edge habitats, with den sites and tracks the only types of evidence found strictly in interior habitats. Land cover around evidence points included more wooded land cover than expected in suburban areas, suggesting the importance of tree cover for coyote occupancy, and more open space and wooded land cover than expected in urban areas, highlighting their avoidance of heavily populated areas. Coyote diet was assessed through identification of remains of food items recovered in coyote scat. White-tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbit, and small rodents were the most consumed prey in both urban and suburban areas. Coyote consumption of white-tailed deer biomass was 7.2% greater than expected in suburban areas and 10.0% less than expected in urban areas and the difference was significant (P < 0.004). More white-tailed deer, raccoon, and woodchuck biomass was consumed compared to other studies, likely due to high use of road-kill. In suburban areas, coyote selection for road-killed white-tailed deer was positive regardless of white-tailed deer or rabbit abundance. Coyotes in urban areas used a foraging strategy that incorporated both prey selection and switching, with no strong discernable pattern. Radio-telemetry technology was used to gather relocations of coyotes for analysis of home range and cores areas frequented by coyotes. Smaller home ranges were made up of greater proportions of urban land than natural land cover, although there was variation. Core areas were dominated by relatively large patches of natural land cover and had greater connectivity compared to home range areas. Radio-telemetry data suggested that coyotes were selective in their use of space, avoiding urban land in favor of natural land cover.