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Coyote takes the risk of stealing the prey of the mountain lion

AmericaCoyotes often take advantage of the opportunity to eat prey that has just been killed by mountain lions such as deer or elk, but they can pay with their lives.

The coyote watched alertly for movement in the snow.  Photo: National Geographic

The coyote watched alertly for movement in the snow. Image: National Geographic

New research published in the journal PNAS by scientists at the University of Oregon shows that coyotes often steal or eat carcasses of mountain lions such as deer and elk. But this risky behavior often comes with risks. The team recently found that mountain lions kill about a quarter of coyotes in the study area. The reason may be competition for prey. Research shows that elk, a common prey for mountain lions, makes up more than half of coyotes’ diets.

“It’s possible that despite the risk, coyotes can’t stand the carcass of a deer that has just been killed,” said Laura Prugh, a professor at the University of Washington. “Most likely they can assess risk based on the novelty of the tracks left by large predators.”

Prugh noticed the risky behavior of coyotes while studying gray wolves in central Alaska. As the amount of snow in the study area plummeted and coyotes began to eat coyotes more often, Prugh wondered how the medium-sized carnivore benefited from the top predators around. . She discovered that coyotes often linger where gray wolves appear to take advantage of opportunities to steal prey, but the risk of them being killed by gray wolves also increases.

The study focused on coyotes, which are among the largest populations of medium-sized carnivores in North America. They range from Alaska to Alaska to Panama, even further south. They are intelligent, well-reproductive and adaptable animals, and are willing to take risks for food. In the study, the scientists put collars on coyotes, mountain lions, black bears and lynxes, and then placed cameras in hunting areas to track the animals’ appearance and movements. The results showed that black bears often avoid mountain lions and rarely come to the area where they hunt. Meanwhile, the lynx has little interest in mountain lions or their prey.

In Wyoming’s sage and juniper-strewn slopes, the team found coyotes tend to stay away from mountain lions. Data from the collars emits radio signals that suggest coyotes will avoid loitering in bushes and ledges where mountain lions often hide unless they can smell food, according to researcher Mitchell Brunet. However, the possibility of coyotes being killed while eating mountain lion’s prey is also higher. But they can survive if they hunt in packs, raise their vigilance and are more adapted to living near humans.

An Khang (According to National Geographic)

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