Mischief or Just a Diversion?

My eyes almost popped out as I watched this. Two coyotes were having a fabulous time playing in a yard — I had not seen coyotes play in a long time, so this was a real treat for me: there was joyous wrestling and chasing. Then one of the two happened upon a possible toy — a bright green garden hose — a novel find. One coyote went over and lifted it up in its mouth and began tugging on it — trying to move it. “Toys” are most often played with alone unless there is going to be a tug of war or a chase about it. But the hose was rather cumbersome and not very maneuverable so the coyote couldn’t run off with it or play tug-of-war with it. I thought it would soon be dropped. Instead, the coyote stopped tugging, and within 30 seconds the hose had been sliced in two. Well, there was one thing you could do with an unyielding hose! Afterwards the coyote looked around — it was almost as if the coyote was trying to see if anyone was watching — but the coast was clear (except for me, and I didn’t count).

The coyote proceeded to another section of the hose and tugged on it for a moment before chewing through that! “Done, again, in 30 seconds”. Maybe that was what hoses were for? After this second cut, the coyote walked on a short distance and urinated: “take that”. Hmmm.  Coyotes are very intelligent and can be very purposeful in their activities. They are known for creating diversions for themselves, but in this case, the thought occurred to me that maybe there was more going on than that — could it be that the coyote didn’t like the hose? Could it be that the coyote had been sprayed by a hose?  It was just a speculative thought. Photos of the first “slice” are in the gallery above; and those from the second “slice” are in the gallery below.


Hide N’Go Seek

I became aware of a group of dogs and their walkers only when this coyote kept looking up in their direction. As the group approached, the coyote moved several times to better and better vantage points, but did not head off. As they got closer, the coyote moved over to patch of grass.  He nibbled the grass, almost as a distraction to himself, as he continued to watch the approach of the dog walking group. Was he getting nervous? One might have thought that the coyote would have hurried off rather than stick around. But no — curiosity can be powerful! Finally, when the group was about at the point where they would have been able to see him, the coyote bounded out of sight and out of harms way to a hiding place, where he remained until they passed.

Having avoided detection, and still wanting to watch them, he now ascended to another lookout, one from which he could make an easy getaway should that need arise. He still kept watching them! Was he testing his luck, or testing his ability to not be seen? They continued their walk, descending a path that circled around, and the coyote ran to the other side of the rocks to watch them as they went. The coyote remained undetected until the very end — almost. When the walkers entered a wooded area they could no longer be seen — all except an unruly dog who was lagging far behind. This dog had her eyes and nose out for the coyote — there have been plenty of previous chases by this one. Having caught whiff of the coyote, the dog went after it, and that is when the coyote finally split for good. The chase occurred  unbeknownst to the owner who had walked on ahead. I later told her about it.