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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Importance of Early Experience with Flavor on Subsequent Food Preferences by Young Coyotes (Canis latrans)


Coyote food habits are well documented, but little is known about the mechanisms driving food selection. Early experience with flavors has been documented to be important in the foraging decisions made by such species as cattle, goats, rats, mice, and domestic dogs. We examined the effect of early experience with flavors on the subsequent food preferences of young coyotes. Part 1 of the study examined the effects of flavors presented in milk, while Part 2 examined the effects of flavors presented in solid food. In both parts, coyote pups were exposed to the treatments and subsequently tested with a series of two-choice tests. Results of the study indicate that early experience with flavor is not the sole mechanism driving food selection in young coyotes. These data support the hypothesis that young coyotes feed opportunistically.

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