We investigated the role of water features as focal attractors for gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), coyotes (Canis latrans), and bobcats (Felis rufus) in west Texas to determine if they were foci for interspecific interaction. Mixed effects models indicated that species partitioned use of water features spatially and temporally. Linear models indicated factors influencing relative activity at water features varied by species. For coyotes and bobcats, the water availability model, containing days since last rainfall and nearest-neighbor distance to water was best supported by the data, with relative activity increasing with time between rainfall and distance between waters. For gray foxes, the best approximating model indicated that relative activity was inversely correlated to coyote and bobcat activity indices, and positively correlated to topographical complexity. Encounters between carnivore species were low, with most occurring between coyotes and gray foxes, followed by coyotes and bobcats, and bobcats and gray foxes. These findings suggest a behavioral-environmental mechanism that may function to modulate resource partitioning by carnivores in the arid West.
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