July 11, 2008

Friday SCATblogging — Chicago coyote scat and CATS!

Want to know what coyotes in Cook County, Ill., are eating? (And yes, they do live there; photo from Chicago WILDERNESS magazine.)

Why do they live there? Well, you’re about to learn the answer!

Read on for a sampling of the variegated modern coyote diet.

Table 1. Frequency of Food Items in the Diets of Coyotes in Cook County, Illinois.*
Diet Item Occurrence
Small rodents 42%
White-tailed deer 22%
Fruit 23%
Eastern cottontail 18%
Bird species 13%
Raccoon 8%
Grass 6%
Invertebrates 4%
Human-associated 2%
Muskrat 1%
Domestic cat 1%
Unknown 1%
* Based on the contents of 1,429 scats collected during 2000-
2002. Some scats contained multiple items; therefore, therefore, the
percentages exceed 100%. See Morey 2004.

Sorry, it’s not specific what “human-associated” means.

But, Kevin Drum and other Friday catbloggers? Wile E. Coyote is out there! Wahhhahahhhha!

Beyond that, as the linked story indicates, cats are a major killer of birds. So, if your cat is outside, it’s fair game, folks.

Of course, that’s just 1 percent. The thing that interests me is that deer make up 22 percent of the frequency. Are there really that many deer in Chicago? Inhabiting office parks at big companies? City parks? A bit of both?

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