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Mississippi State University

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Interactions and Spatial Relationships


Coyote home ranges and core areas overlapped most during breeding-gestation and although coyotes were monitored in all seasons, home range and core area overlap were not prominent. Home range overlap for neighboring males was greatest during breeding-gestation. Conversely, neighboring females exhibited greatest overlap during whelping-pup rearing. For males and females with overlapping home ranges, we observed greatest overlap during whelping-pup rearing. Core area overlap for neighboring males was minimal. Likewise, neighboring females exhibited minimal core area overlap. For males and females, we observed greatest core area overlap during whelping-pup rearing. We observed 2 instances of home range and core area sharing between resident males and females that were frequently located together, suggesting the formation of pair bonds. Although resident males and females maintained overlapping home ranges and home ranges frequently overlapped conspecific core areas, core areas between neighboring adults appeared to be mutually exclusive.

We documented 10 instances of 2 or more marked coyotes traveling together. Eight of these 10 instances were male-female. Given that sharing or extensive overlap of home ranges occurred in these instances, these findings strengthen evidence of the formation of pair bonds between these individuals. We documented 1 instance of home range sharing during whelping-pup rearing among 3 coyotes (1 M, 2 F) that frequently traveled together within their home range.


Coyotes exhibit a well-developed social structure and previous studies have indicated that territorial males and females often share home ranges, but core areas may be mutually exclusive. Our data suggest that resident males and females may share home ranges, particularly during whelping-pup rearing. Additionally, although core area overlap was negligible for coyotes maintaining neighboring home ranges, those sharing home ranges frequently maintained overlapping core areas. Further, our data suggest that coyotes moving through their home range rarely exhibited avoidance or repulsion. This likely resulted from coyotes maintaining neighboring home ranges rarely being within a certain distance of each other. If coyotes simultaneously monitored were within 500 m of each other, most were together, suggesting that coyotes moved through shared regions of their home ranges similarly, indicative of group or pair formation. These findings, coupled with mutually exclusive core areas between neighboring coyotes, suggests territoriality among pairs or groups on TWMA and GP.