(ORDO NEWS) — In New York, coyotes have become a familiar part of the urban fauna: they live, breed and die within the city.
Previously, researchers believed that the lion’s share of the diet of these animals is the garbage left by people.
Now, having studied the composition of their feces, it became obvious that urban coyotes, even in an unusual environment, remain hunters.
Coyotes are highly adaptable to new environments and flexibly change their diet depending on what food is currently available.
Along with foxes and squirrels, they have become a common part of the American urban fauna, populating such large cities as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
Previously, scientists believed that in the city, coyotes mainly expect to find something to eat in garbage cans and landfills, while small animals eat “on occasion”.
To pinpoint their diet, the researchers collected faecal samples from New York coyotes and analyzed their composition.
It turned out that coyotes in the city are not at all as lazy as we thought, and, from time to time, eating sour burgers or banana peels for people, they mainly rely on their own strength.
Judging by the composition of DNA in the feces, coyotes have become the main predators of the urban ecosystem, including a variety of rodents, raccoons, birds, rabbits, insects and even deer in their diet.
Comparing the diets of urban coyotes with those of their counterparts living north of New York City, scientists found significant similarities in their diets.
It turned out that “country” coyotes preyed more on raccoons and deer, but both groups ate human waste equally often (about two-thirds of the feces contained at least one anthropogenic product), and the diet of New York coyotes was more diverse and included, for example , meat of guinea fowl and goats.
The presence of coyotes in a city can have a positive effect on the stability of the entire ecosystem: for example, since raccoons in the city have no natural enemies, coyotes control the growth of their population and prevent outbreaks of raccoon-borne diseases, in particular rabies.
Thus, the city authorities should take care of the expansion of green spaces (they are mainly hunted by coyotes), which will help maintain a healthy urban ecosystem.
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