I heard from a neighbor that there was a terrible coyote fight last night at one of my coyote observation areas. How did she know this, I asked? The fight occurred right outside her fenced yard; the racket was tremendous. She said it sounded like a very fierce dog fight, only she knew it was coyotes — she hears them often and knows the sounds of coyotes very well, though she has never heard coyotes fight before. Might the fight have something to do with a new female who we have seen recently who now might be claiming the territory that once belonged to others? We speculated about this. She told me that female fights can be furious.
Coyotes avoid all fighting — actual engagement — if they can. Most of the time if there is a dispute between them, the dominant animal need only assume his/her threatening stance. The subordinate animal will accept the other’s supremacy by assuming a submissive posture and will avoid making eye contact with the dominant animal. Hierarchy disputes within packs don’t last very long. However, when two dominant alphas from two different packs have a dispute, a fight could very well erupt. The winner gets his/her way.
The fight occurred in the dark at 9:30 at night — nothing was seen, everything was heard. The witness told me that she yelled out for the coyotes to stop, and they did for just a moment, but then they proceeded with their battle. We’ll have to see how important this fight was for determining the status quo or changes regarding these coyotes. I am worried about what I might find out.
I’ve inserted a children’s poem which I’ve always loved. It came to mind after hearing about the furious fight. Though it is whimsical and light hearted as a child’s poem should be — it depicts the fury that I imagine might have been involved between the coyotes as described by the woman I spoke to.
[Post Script: I saw the resident coyotes a few days after this incident. They acted as normal as could be -- as if nothing at all ferocious had ever taken place. Maybe they "won" what was a territorial battle? Or maybe a coyote's status was redefined or reconfirmed? I can only speculate. And, I wonder how often such battles occur?]