Coyote flight movements relative to territory boundaries: An experiment in the field

J. C C Neale, Benjamin Sacks, Karen M. Blejwas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


It is well-known that coyotes maintain exclusive territories in which they are least vulnerable to mortality from humans. Studies also indicate that resident (i.e., non-dispersing) coyotes rarely leave these secure areas when unperturbed. Here, we investigated whether coyotes would maintain their fidelity to territories in the face of human pursuit. We used radiotelemetry to determine approximate territorial boundaries of six coyotes, and then attempted, via on-foot pursuit, to drive these individuals in a straight line, causing them to vacate their territories. Coyotes generally did not allow us to push them in a straight line beyond their territories, but instead doubled back as they approached territory boundaries. In contrast, a transient coyote fled from pursuit in a straight line for a distance equivalent to two or three territory diameters before we ceased pursuit. These findings suggest that coyotes perceive the security of their territories to be sufficiently great as to outweigh advantages of outdistancing their pursuer via straight-line flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-167
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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