Committee Chair

Aborn, David

Committee Member

Mowry, Chris; Schorr, Mark


Dept. of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Coyotes (Canis latrans) have progressively colonized eastern North America following wolf extirpation and the clearing of forested landscapes. The coyote has expanded its geographic range into Georgia during the past 50 years, and its impact as the top predator is potentially influencing community dynamics via competition and/or predation. Few studies have examined coyote food habits in the southeastern United States. Our objective was to determine prey items consumed by free-ranging coyotes living on Berry College lands in northwestern Georgia. One hundred and twenty-seven coyote scats were collected from May 2005 through August 2006 along seven major service roads that transected the 28.55 mi^2 study area, and 270 prey items were identified. The four most frequently occurring prey items were Muridae rodents (26.3%), eastern cottontail rabbits (15.2%), white-tailed deer (13.7%), and eastern gray squirrels (10%). Fawn remains were slightly more frequent in coyote scats than adult deer (7.8% vs. 5.9%). Mammal remains (71.2%) comprised the largest prey category, followed by vegetation (10.7%), arthropods (7.4%), birds (3.3%), and reptiles (1.5%). Significant seasonal fluctuations of prey items/prey classes were found (P<0.0001). Rodents (predominantly the Family Muridae) were most common in spring, vegetation (predominantly persimmons) occurred most frequently in fall, and arthropod consumption (predominantly grasshoppers) was constant throughout the year, except during winter months. Prey classes Artiodactyla and Lagomorpha were consumed year round, although fawns were an important prey item only in spring and summer months and eastern cottontails were most popular in the winter.


It is a pleasure to thank the many people who made this thesis possible. It is difficult to overstate my gratitude to Dr. Chris Mowry, who not only contributed significantly to my development as a biologist prior to graduate school, but also provided his professional and financial support at no cost throughout my pursuit of a master's. Without his enthusiasm, his inspiration, and his great efforts to get this project started, I would have been lost. Justin Edge also deserves special thanks; without his influence on Dr. Mowry and Berry College, this thesis never would have been possible. I would also like to thank my chair, Dr. David Abom, for his encouragement and sound advice throughout my thesis pursuit, as well as committee member Dr. Mark Schorr for his much needed statistical advice. In addition, special thanks are due to all the wildlife biologists at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Arrowhead Office. They spent many tedious hours aiding in prey identification and provided me with hair, feather, and exoskeleton samples. I am indebted to all of these people for their knowledge and support. Without question the reason this study was completed has been the love and support of my family. My parents, Gary and Mary Lee Eady, taught me to work hard, to be compassionate and understanding, and to always do the best you can. They have supported me in everything I have ever done, and through all this they were always there for me. Lastly, and most importantly, I wish to thank my husband, Matt Owens, who bore the brunt of the spin-offs of this project. My ranting and raving about the graduate process, statistics, working while going to school, and the "is this worth it" tirades were all handled with love and understanding; and all while running his own business and watching our newborn son. Thanks to all of you!


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Coyote--Behavior--United States--Georgia


Environmental Monitoring

Document Type

Masters theses




viii, 62 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .O936 2006