We used scat analysis and radiotelemetry to characterize use of foods and habitats by sympatric bobcats and coyotes, and evaluated these in the context of spatial and temporal relationships to assess the potential for, and evidence of, interspecific competition. Bobcats and coyotes exhibited broad and overlapping diets. However, diets of the two predators differed in the relative contributions of small and large prey, with bobcats consuming relatively more rodent and lagomorph biomass and coyotes consuming relatively more ungulate biomass. Consumption among rodent prey species was highly correlated between bobcats and coyotes, indicating no evidence of prey partitioning within this group. Habitat selection by the two predators differed slightly at the landscape scale but not within home ranges. Bobcats and coyotes occupied small, overlapping home ranges, such that the likelihood of interspecific encounters (direct or indirect) was high. Bobcats displayed slight avoidance of overlapping coyote core areas during coyote reproductive seasons (winter and spring), when coyotes are typically most territorial (toward conspecifics), but displayed slight attraction during times of year when coyotes were not engaged in reproductive activities. Relative to coyotes, which were strongly nocturnal, diel activity patterns of bobcats were more diurnal and variable. However, activity patterns were not inversely correlated. Overall, these predators appeared to use resources independently and we found little evidence of negative interactions. Differences in resource use by bobcats and coyotes appeared to relate to fundamental niche differences as opposed to competition-related resource partitioning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics