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Mississippi State University

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Influence of Weather on Movement and Activity


Results

Using multiple linear regression to model movement rates as a function of seasonal weather conditions, during breeding-gestation movement rates were most related to temperature, relative humidity, and dewpoint. Movement rates generally increased with increasing temperature, but decreased with increasing humidity and dewpoint. During fall-winter, movement rates were most related to wind direction and wind speed. Movement rates generally increased with wind directions from the south, but decreased with increasing wind speed. During whelping-pup rearing, movement rates were most related to relative humidity and wind speed. Movement rates generally increased with decreasing relative humidity, but coyotes became less active as wind speed increased.

Using logistic regression to model seasonal activity as a function of weather conditions, activity was most related to relative humidity, rainfall, dewpoint, and barometric trend during breeding-gestation. Coyote activity generally increased with increasing barometric trend, but decreased during rain events, decreasing relative humidity and dewpoint. During whelping-pup rearing, activity was most related to barometric pressure as coyote activity generally increased with increasing barometric pressure.

Summary

Coyotes rely heavily on olfactory stimuli when hunting, hence it is not surprising that movement rates decreased with increasing wind speed. Hunting efficiency for coyotes, and canids in general, likely decreases during periods with high wind. Thus, it is not adaptive for coyotes to forage intensively (i.e., increase movement rates) during these periods. Our results suggest that weather conditions do influence coyote activity patterns to some extent. It is not surprising that coyote activity decreased during rain events, as most coyote prey likely decrease their activity during these periods. Whereas gray fox (see section on gray fox) became more active when barometric pressure decreased, coyotes increased activity when barometric pressure increased. This suggests that coyotes increase activity after storm fronts (warm or cold fronts) have passed, and barometric pressure begins to rise.