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Ecology and management of coyotes in Tucson, Arizona

  • Author(s): Grinder, Martha I.
  • Krausman, Paul R.
  • et al.
Abstract

Increasingly, coyotes are becoming common residents of urban areas in the western United States, including Tucson, Arizona. The authors’ objectives were to determine the home-range size of coyotes in Tucson, the habitat encompassed by the home ranges of these coyotes compared with the habitat available in Tucson, and the use of habitats within the home range, compared to their availability in the home range. To address these objectives, the authors trapped, radiocollared, and followed 13 coyotes via radiotelemetry in Tucson, Arizona. Seven coyotes were in less-densely populated areas (<1 house/0.4 ha, called rural) of Tucson; six coyotes were in densely populated areas (>1 house/0.4 ha, called urban) of Tucson. The authors used RANGES V to determine home-range size and the geographic information system ARC/INFO to analyze habitat use. The home-range size of Tucson coyotes varied from 129 to 3,279 ha (95% MCP). Coyote home ranges in rural areas included a greater proportion of natural habitat and a smaller proportion of residential habitat than was available in the study area. Coyote home ranges in urban areas included a greater proportion of vacant areas and a smaller proportion of natural areas and parks than was available in the study area. Within the home range, coyotes in rural areas preferred (used greater than available) parks and washes, and avoided (used less than available) all other habitats. Within the home range, coyotes in urban areas preferred residential habitat; they avoided commercial areas and vacant areas. Coyotes may have been preferring areas where food and cover was most abundant.

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