Coyotes living near cities are bolder: Implications for dog evolution and human-wildlife conflict


Journal Article

© 2020 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. How animal populations adapt to human modified landscapes is central to understanding modern behavioural evolution and improving wildlife management. Coyotes (Canis latrans) have adapted to human activities and thrive in both rural and urban areas. Bolder coyotes showing reduced fear of humans and their artefacts may have an advantage in urban environments. We analysed the reactions of 636 coyotes to novel human artefacts (camera traps) at 575 sites across the state of North Carolina. Likelihood of a coyote approaching the camera increased with human housing density suggesting that urban coyotes are experiencing selection for boldness and becoming more attracted to human artefacts. This has implications for both human-wildlife conflict and theories of dog domestication. We also note physical traits in coyotes that could be the result of domestication-related selection pressures, or dog hybridization.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brooks, J; Kays, R; Hare, B

Published Date

  • January 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 157 / 3-4

Start / End Page

  • 289 - 313

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1568-539X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0005-7959

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1163/1568539X-bja10002

Citation Source

  • Scopus