Elucidating potential pathways of rodenticide exposure of coyotes using molecular genetics
Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores that are common in developed areas of southern California. Studies of urban and suburban coyotes have revealed that they eat mostly native rodents but rarely consume commensal, non-native rats (Rattus spp.) and mice (Mus musculus). Nonetheless, urban-affiliated coyotes are commonly exposed to rodenticides used to control commensal rodents. Elucidating the diet of coyotes from urban and suburban areas will help determine if coyotes are secondarily exposed to rodenticides by consuming commensal rodents or by some other pathway, such as consumption of native small mammals or mesopredators.