UC scientist analyzes coyote stomach contents to study diet
Shoes with rubber soles, western cottontail rabbits, birds, avocados, oranges, peaches, candy wrappers and fast-food cartons were among the contents that UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife interactions advisor Niamh Quinn has found inside the stomachs of urban coyotes, reported Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times.
Quinn is working with Cal State Fullerton graduate student Danielle Martinez to get a clear picture of what is sustaining coyotes that died across Los Angeles and Orange counties.
"This much is clear: coyotes aren't struggling in our urban environments," Quinn said. "They are almost everywhere, continually learning to adapt alongside us."
Quinn also developed the Coyote Cacher web application to catalog reports of coyote sightings throughout California. Users can see when and where coyote interactions occurred.
"Was howling at an ambulance going down PCH toward Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach," a report posted this month said.
"Killed and ate my cat," said another from the same area.
The stomach contents study indicates that cats make up only about 8 percent of the urban coyotes' diets. Dogs aren't part of the study because it would be difficult to differentiate the DNA of coyotes from other members of the canid family.