(ORDO NEWS) — The coyote is a common predator in the United States, resembling a small wolf with large ears.
Like stray dogs, they lead an opportunistic lifestyle and combine hunting many animals smaller than themselves and feeding on household waste. Including, they live in big cities.
To figure out what New York coyotes eat, Carol Henger and colleagues analyzed DNA from coyote feces collected from parks and other green spaces around the city.
They found that urban coyotes consumed wild mammals like raccoons, rabbits, deer and voles. They also ate birds, insects, plants, and human foods such as chicken, beef, and pork.
“The uniqueness of our study lies in the fact that by sequencing the DNA of coyote feces, we were able to detect elements of the diet that cannot be seen by visual analysis of feces samples.
There are no wild cows, chickens or banana trees in New York parks, so if we get the DNA of something like that, we will know that the coyote fed from an anthropogenic source, ”the scientists explain.
The researchers also compared the diets of coyotes in New York with those of coyotes living in the northern suburbs.
The main differences in the diets of the two populations were that suburban coyotes ate more raccoons and deer.
The two groups of coyotes ate similar proportions of human food (approximately 60% of the feces contained at least one sample of human food), but the urban coyotes ate a wider variety of foods, including relatively exotic ones like rice, goat meat, bananas, and guinea fowl.
This proves that the coyotes that have taken root in the city have not fallen into dependence on human food.
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