Q:

What is the food chain of a coyote?

A:

Fresh meat from deer, rodents and rabbits dominates the diet of wild coyotes, but they also consume snakes, small birds, insects and carrion. According to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, coyotes may eat wild berries, apples, fir leaves and trash. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum states that coyotes are omnivores with four known predators: humans, bears, wolves and mountain lions.

The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology states that coyotes cover up to three miles in a single hunt. They prefer to hunt at dusk and dawn, especially when humans live nearby. They are shy around adult humans but frequently rifle through garbage containers, especially when live prey and carrion are scarce. Garbage bins with locking lids discourage this practice.

Coyotes have excellent vision, hearing and smell. They are agile and run quickly, but they lack the digging ability necessary to extract small rodents from subterranean burrows. When hunting rodents, coyotes often collaborate with badgers, who are slow runners with exceptional digging ability. When coyotes and badgers hunt together, both benefit.

In most other situations coyotes are solitary hunters, although they form packs to hunt deer. This sophisticated strategy forces the deer to run until it is exhausted and can no longer escape or defend itself. The pack then funnels the exhausted deer toward coyotes hidden in secluded areas. After killing the deer, the pack divides the meat.


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