Both coyotes and rabbits are commonly encountered through much of the United States in many different habitats. Backyard visits by either or both of these creatures isn't uncommon; both creatures are particularly adaptable to living in close proximity to humans. In general, both creatures have similar habitat preferences and have a considerable impact on their ecosystems.
Rabbit Habitat Requirements
Although these small, quick-hopping mammals are adaptable to numerous habitats and environments, including urban areas, rabbits prefer a few staples in their habitats. Cover is among the most important habitat characteristic. Rabbits generally prefer areas with shrubby overgrowth or briar patches. Without cover, rabbit populations in a given area would decline. According to the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture program, rabbit populations are directly linked not only to the quantity of cover, but to the quality.
Coyote Habitat Requirements
Like rabbits, coyotes are particularly adaptable to many different habitats. As predators, however, they're not as reliant on cover as their smaller counterparts. Although they're adaptable, they often prefer semi-open habitats that have both grassland and woods or forest. Urban and suburban areas are also acceptable to many coyotes, and these medium-sized canines aren't often thwarted by human cohabitation.
Although coyotes are taking the place of larger, more dominant predators -- particularly gray wolves and mountain lions -- that have been extirpated by humans, they remain largely omnivorous, and scavenging plays a large part in their diet. Carrion, insects, small rodents, fawns and rabbits are all on the menu, and they'll occasionally take down larger prey if the opportunity presents itself. Livestock, particularly poultry, may be appealing to many coyotes, although feral dogs are largely to blame in some areas, according to the University of Illinois Extension.
Rabbits have many relationships within their ecosystem, primarily as a prey animal for carnivorous neighbors. In the backyard, however, rabbits have distinct relationships with humans. These small creatures can cause considerable damage to landscape ornamental plants and vegetable gardens, although extermination isn't necessary or even a possibility. For example, this is the relationship experienced between coyotes and rabbits.
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