Reproductive characteristics of a coyote population before and during exploitation
The eastward expansion of coyotes (Canis latrans) has brought the species into ecosystems and landscapes different from those it historically occupied, yet little is known about the reproductive biology of coyotes in the southeastern United States or the effects of exploitation on reproduction in coyotes. Our objective was to quantify litter size, pregnancy rate, and fecundity in an essentially unexploited coyote population in South Carolina, USA and to evaluate the effect of exploitation on these parameters. We examined reproductive tracts from 235 female coyotes trapped during 2010–2012. Placental scars from coyotes trapped during 2010 indicated that prior to trapping (2009), pregnancy rates were zero for juveniles, 0.25 for yearlings, and 0.389 for adults. Litter size for adults during 2009 averaged 5.4 pups/female, resulting in fecundity of 2.1 pups/female.