Catches a Cricket and Plays With It

 


Coyotes have extremely fine-tuned control and sensitivity of their teeth and mouths — really no different from our own fingers. The coyote in these photos has caught a cricket and carried it ever so gently in it’s mouth. She picked up the cricket and put it down several times without killing it. She wanted to watch it and spent several minutes doing so! In the end, of course, she ate it.

Watching this sensitive and fine-tuned control involving a coyote’s teeth reminded me of an incident years ago with my dog, a cattle dog who was part wild dingo, who also had the same fine minute control. Coyote sensitivity and dexterity is finer than a domestic dog’s — they require this for survival whereas a dog does not, but describing a domestic dog’s minute control can give insight into that of a coyote’s.

My dog had had an operation on her arm to remove a floating bone segment, leaving her with a six-inch scar. Two days before the veterinarian was scheduled to take out her stitches, Cinder took them out herself. There were 18 of them, and I would have stopped her except I didn’t discover that she was doing this until 15 of the stitches had already come out and the wound remained closed. So I watched as she took out the last three. It was unbelievable! She worked about 5 minutes on EACH of those last stitches, not touching the skin at all. The stitches were “snipped” when she had manipulated them into position with her teeth.

I immediately drove her to the veterinary office, fearing she might have done damage. The vet said that Cinder knew it was time for those stitches to come out and that she had done an incredibly good job of it.

Interesting beyond the coyote’s fine and gentle handling of the cricket with her teeth is that this coyote was fascinated by the cricket and its movements, and spent several minutes absorbed in watching it and moving it several times.

Ants In Your Pants??

This coyote had been resting ever so calmly and peacefully when suddenly he started flinching erratically.  This must be where the definition of being  “bugged” or having “ants in your pants” comes from. Size had nothing to do with who won this bout of antagonistic behavior! It was the coyote who fled!

English idioms: If someone has ants in their pants, they are agitated or excited about something and can’t keep still. To bug someone is to annoy or irritate them.

Two Coyotes and A Catch-Of-The-Day

It was foggy, so I couldn’t tell who was who until I got home and looked at my photos, but I observed a coyote bringing in some large prey — too foggy to tell what, taking it into the bushes to deposit it and possibly hide it from other coyotes, and then coming out to either explore or to make sure no one had seen him hide it.

Another coyote soon appeared on the scene and these two, who normally would have approached each other with happy greetings or just to be together, stood frozen about 100 feet apart, glaring distrustfully at each other: “Yeah, what do you want,” and “Yeah, what are you up to!” The new coyote disappeared into the brushes — no point in dealing with that kind of welcome from the first coyote. The first coyote then went to where the new one entered the bushes to check out what he might be up to, then he himself descended into the bushes.

Shortly thereafter, a coyote came out of those same bushes carrying the same prey that was taken in, and began a long journey all the way across the park with it and then disappeared into a distant thicket.

When I got home I blew up the photos and increased the contrast. I could now see much more than I could see when I took the photos. The prey had been a small raccoon. Most interesting was that it was “Dad” who had brought in the prey and hidden it. Then “Daughter” came into the scene at which point Dad looked at her glaringly and suspiciously. She went into the bushes and Dad ran over to keep an eye on her activities. Then he, too, went into the bushes at a slightly different location. I didn’t see him again.

Then Daughter came out of the bushes and looked around  — the coast was clear, so she went back into the bushes, picked up the prey, and carried it off to a distant part of the park.

So Dad brought the prey to this location where he hid it, and when he was no longer around, Daughter grabbed the prey and ran off with it. Note that the amazingly similar photos #1 and #12 are different coyotes carrying the same prey, and you can only tell this by zooming in closely on the original large file!

Did she steal Dad’s prey?

Inside A Coyote Family

2014-08-15 (6)Coyote news stories tend to be based on negative “incidents” — either a dog disappears, or someone has spotted a Coyote crossing the street where they think there should not be one. Newspapers thrive on controversy and sensationalism, and this kind of story fills the bill. But there is Coyote news out there which is positive, interesting, useful and newsworthy, too!

To continue reading and see the photos, just click on the thumbnail image to the left. It is a two-page photo-essay on coyote family life which can be read in the current Wildcare Magazine, Autumn, 2014.

2014-08-15 (7)What an honor to have my work — two articles and a bunch of photos — featured in WildCare Magazine’s Autumn, 2014 issue, including the photo on the magazine cover!  To look through the entire magazine, click on the image to the right.  To donate to WildCare, please press here.


 

Leg Injury Impedes Interactions

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The little guy to the right ran circles around the gal to the left in an attempt to get her to play: they are siblings and BFFs, but she couldn’t uphold her end of the deal. She just sat there and watched him. He eventually gave up and walked on with their dad, but he turned around to look at her as he walked off.  She watched him go and, in my eyes, she looked sad.

When she got up to go — to follow them — I finally could see what the problem was. She was limping. She held her left front leg out in front of herself awkwardly as she limped. She could keep up with the two others, but she preferred lagging behind them, possibly to avoid the rough play she was accustomed to.

It was dusk and I couldn’t see much — the camera could see better than I could. When I reviewed the photos later at home, I could see that she had been holding that left front leg up in front of herself the entire time. These animals are very astute. I’m pretty sure her sibling and fellow playmate knew that she was hurt and in pain. He probably was trying to raise her spirits by inviting her to play. She could not. Hopefully it will be short-lived injury.

Paws In Play

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During a recent coyote rendezvous, play was more intense and exciting than ever among the three members of this coyote family. Besides the usual chasing, running, wrestling, grooming, mouthing, tumbling and togetherness, what caught my eye was lots of paw involvement: touching, reaching, pushing, swatting and grabbing.  Here are just a few of the photos I took.

 

“Call of the Coyote”: Storytelling, Masks and Music

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In order to reach more folks, we are expanding our educational and informational efforts about coyotes and coexistence through various forms of art and cultural events. Here is our latest! Thank you all “Coexisters” at CoyoteCoexistence.com, and Sandra and Mike at the Mask Theater!

Gateway Performance Productions, a mask and theater group in Atlanta, has teamed up with us at CoyoteCoexistence.com to promote awareness and understanding of urban coyotes and how to live cooperatively with them in Atlanta and beyond.

Their production, Call of the Coyote, with coyote host Michael Hickey, is a short outdoors performance that includes audience interaction, storytelling and music. Educational information flyers about coyotes is provided by CoyoteCoexistence for distribution at the performance.

Call of the Coyote premiered this past Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the Freedom Farmers’ Market at the Carter Center in Atlanta and returns to the Market on Saturday, September 27th, 2014 with rotating performances from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

If you’re interested in scheduling a performance for your farmers market, festival or other event in the Atlanta area – please contact Cathy Hudson at Coyote Coexistence – cathyhudson@gmail.com or Sandra Hughes at Gateway Performance Productions – sandra@masktheatre.org

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2014-08-01 at 21-26-47 (1)[This program - a community partnership between Gateway Performance Productions and Coyote Coexistence - is made possible in part by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Commissioners with the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council, Power2Give and individual contributors.] Reposted from CoyoteCoexistence.com with permission.

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