Spatial relations between coyotes (Canis latrans) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) on a 360-km2 area in North Dakota were studied during 1977-78. Coyote families occupied large (mean = 61.2 km2), relatively exclusive territories that encompassed about one-half of the study area. Fox families occupied much smaller (mean = 11.9 km2), relatively exclusive, territories that overlapped perimeters of coyote territories and/or encompassed area unoccupied by coyotes. No fox family lived totally within a coyote territory, but 3 fox families lived within the 153.6-km2 home range of an unattached yearling male coyote. Both coyotes and foxes, from families with overlapping territories, tended to use their overlap areas less than was expected by amount of overlap. Encounters between radio-equipped coyotes and foxes from families with overlapping territories occurred less often than was expected by chance. Foxes living near coyotes exhibited considerable tenacity to their territories, and no monitored fox was killed by coyotes during 2,518 fox-days of radio surveillance. A hypothesis for coyote-induced fox population declines, based largely on fox avoidance mechanisms, is presented.
Additional publication details
Spatial relations between sympatric coyotes and red foxes in North Dakota