Food habits and space use of gray foxes in relation to sympatric coyotes and bobcats

J. C.C. Neale, Benjamin Sacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

To investigate interspecific relationships between gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and sympatric coyotes (Canis latrans) and bobcats (Lynx rufus), we quantified occurrence of food items in carnivore scats and used relative abundances of scats on transects to assess space use. Dietary-overlap indices between the two canid species were high during summer and fall (x̄ = 0.89) when fruits were prevalent in scats of both species, and were lower during winter and spring (x̄ = 0.70) when fruits were less available. Foxes differed most from coyotes in their relatively less frequent ungulate consumption. Fox-bobcat dietary-overlap indices were relatively low in summer and fall (x̄ = 0.37) and greater in winter and spring (x̄ = 0.74). Foxes differed most from bobcats in their more frequent consumption of fruits and less frequent consumption of lagomorphs. Abundance of fox scats was positively correlated with abundance of coyote scats during both winter-spring (r = 0.52, p = 0.02) and summer-fall (r = 0.75, p < 0.001) and with abundance of bobcat scats during winter-spring (r = 0.59, p < 0.01) and summer-fall (r = 0.22, p > 0.10). Thus, despite similarities in diet, we found no evidence that gray foxes avoided these larger predators in space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1794-1800
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Volume79
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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