Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coyote more likely to make a meal out of moose than thought

Date:
October 24, 2013
Source:
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)
Summary:
It has long been believed that coyotes were incapable of taking down an adult moose, but researchers have recently discovered that eastern coyotes and coyote x wolf hybrids (canids) have preyed on adult moose in central Ontario.

“Coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids probably prey on moose opportunistically and only when circumstances are favorable. For instance, when snow is deep and a hard crust forms on top this impedes the ability of moose to travel and gives the lighter coyotes and hybrids an advantage because they can travel on top of the snow,” explained Dr. Benson.
Credit: © steffilurger / Fotolia

It has long been believed that coyotes were incapable of taking down an adult moose, but researchers have recently discovered that eastern coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids (canids) have preyed on adult moose in central Ontario. Their findings were published today in the Canadian Journal of Zoology.

Related Articles


Researchers Dr. John Benson, a PhD student in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program at Trent University when he conducted the research, and Dr. Brent Patterson, a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough, documented instances where packs of eastern coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids (canids) were found to have killed moose.

Their study involved live capture of eastern coyotes and eastern coyote × eastern wolf hybrids to deploy Global Positioning System (GPS) radio-collars and take blood samples for DNA analysis. The GPS collars delivered highly accurate locations of the study animals (via satellites or cell towers) so the researchers were able to visit these locations during winter to investigate their activities and document predation patterns. The DNA analysis allowed them to determine whether the animals were coyotes, wolves, or coyote × wolf hybrids.

In the study, four canid packs ranging in size from two to five animals were found to have killed moose. The researchers obtained two accurate ages from moose that were killed by coyotes and/or hybrids: One was very old (20 years) and one was young (20 months). It is believed that younger and older adult moose are probably more vulnerable due to inexperience and deteriorating body condition, respectively.

"Coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids probably prey on moose opportunistically and only when circumstances are favorable. For instance, when snow is deep and a hard crust forms on top this impedes the ability of moose to travel and gives the lighter coyotes and hybrids an advantage because they can travel on top of the snow," explained Dr. Benson.

"Additionally, we noticed that some of the moose killed by coyotes and hybrids were on steep slopes that may have slowed the moose and created unstable footing. We also found that some of the moose were killed in areas where medium-sized trees were moderately dense, which may have prevented moose from swinging around quickly to fend off predators attacking from the rear or side."

"Killing of adult moose by eastern coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids appears to be relatively rare and probably does not pose a threat to moose populations in central Ontario. However, from the perspective of a pack of coyotes or hybrids, killing even a single moose during a winter is very beneficial and goes a long way towards helping them meet their energetic demands. For instance, a pack of two eastern coyotes spent some or all of 18 days feeding on a moose that they killed."

The authors do not believe the viability of moose populations in central Ontario is negatively affected by this predation, as recent studies have shown that populations in WMU49 and nearby Algonquin Provincial Park are increasing and that both adult and calf moose survival is relatively high.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.F. Benson, B.R. Patterson. Moose (Alces alces) predation by eastern coyotes (Canislatrans) and eastern coyote × eastern wolf (Canislatrans×Canislycaon) hybrids. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1139/cjz-2013-0160

Cite This Page:

Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). "Coyote more likely to make a meal out of moose than thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024121925.htm>.
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). (2013, October 24). Coyote more likely to make a meal out of moose than thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024121925.htm
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). "Coyote more likely to make a meal out of moose than thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024121925.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) — Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) — Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) — A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

RightThisMinute (Feb. 25, 2015) — This wounded fox knew what she was doing when she wandered into the yard of a nature photographer. The photographer got "Scamp" immediately in the hands of Wildlife Aid and she was released back into the wild in no time. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins