*FIRST: Coyote Coexistence Guidelines and Safety Information

VIDEOS ON COYOTE BEHAVIORS, GUIDELINES & DOGS:

A ONE-STOP INFORMATION VIDEO on urban coyotes: coyote behavior and how to coexist with them, how to handle encounters, and why killing them does not solve issues.  Press https://youtu.be/euG7R11aXq0 to go directly to YouTube. [Condensed version: http://youtu.be/1Kxl31nX0rc]

Para la versión en Español, haz clic aquí: http://youtu.be/FjVGKwLiYG4;

In Mandarin Chinese 普通话: http://youtu.be/aFWyegSrNHw

*Please note our protocol change (not in our video) for when walking a dog: The best policy is TOTAL AVOIDANCE: Whether you see a coyote in the distance, approaching you, or at close range, leash your dog and walk away from it, avoiding any kind of confrontation or engagement. This will minimize the potential for dog/coyote interactions. If you feel inclined to shoo it away — following the guidelines in the videos,  you may try this, but our preferred approach now is TOTAL AVOIDANCE.



LINKS TO UNDERSTANDING COYOTE BEHAVIOR + DOGS:

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*A Quote Worth Pondering

“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other.  If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear.  What one fears one destroys.”      Chief Dan George

Charles Wood, a frequent contributor to Coyote Yipps, adds: “I want to try and express Chief Dan George’s words a little differently, though I believe the meaning is the same: ‘If you talk to the animals they will talk to you and you will come to know them. When you come to know them, you will love them, with respect, without fear. What one fears one destroys. What one loves one defends.'”

ACTUAL BLOG WITH LATEST POST BEGINS BELOW

Expert Huntress

I asked a very good friend if he thought this video might be too long for viewers. This is what he said:

“It is wonderful, & beautiful — particularly the sound, and the length, which both are perfect — nature is slow… those digitalkids & iphonephreaks who believe they live in a soundbyte world, don’t — there are entire worlds out there, surrounding them and containing them and of which they are a tiny miniscule and unimportant part, which move far more slowly — Nature is one of those, Geology moves far more slowly even than that — Astral events, the stars, move both far more slowly and sometimes a whole lot faster, than they do — let the slowness here, decorated so wonderfully by that chirping-birds & airplane soundtrack, remind them of their own relativity in all of that”.

This video is long, at 5:51 minutes. The most interesting parts are the tiptoeing at 1:10, the series of pounces where she caves in the underground tunnels of her prey at 1:44, and then the furious digging and moving of ground cover at 2:17. She exposes her prey by this digging and grabs it at 3:28 and then eats it. A young female shows how adept she is at her hunting routine:

Here is a breakdown of what is occurring:

  • To begin with, patiently, she stands there, super alert, watching and listening, triangulating her ears from side to side, and nodding her head back and forth to exactly and precisely locate her prey by sound.
  • At 1:10 she tiptoes, ever so carefully so that her prey may not hear her — a little bit closer
  • Soon thereafter, at 1:44 she tenses, getting ready to leap, backs up a little bit and then springs up and down into several pounces, landing hard on her forepaws with a series of  “punches” meant to knock in her prey’s intricate tunneling system underground. This prevents the gopher from escaping through that tunnel network. This lasts until 2:05.
  • At 2:17 she begins furiously digging and digging, both deep into the ground to break through into the tunnels, and on the surface to move the ground-cover out of the way, all the while continually keeping a wary eye on her surroundings, including me and folks walking in back of me.
  • At 3:28 she catches her prey, disables it, and tosses it to the ground. Then, by looking around, she assesses how safe it is to eat right it then and there. She decides it’s not so safe, so she runs off with it.
  • At 3:36 until the end of the video, she eats her prey, tearing into several more manageable eating portions and chewing these down to swallowable sizes — it takes a while, and then she calmly walks off. Note that there is no waste — she eats every bit of her prey: entrails, muscles, fur and bones.

 

 

A Coyote Visited My Home! by Christina

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Great blog! Recently caught a coyote on camera in the Aptos area very close to the house. We love coyotes but also have a cat we are concerned for. She’s sort of an outdoor cat, but we keep her in at night. Now she may have to be restricted to her catio while we’re away.

Our new outdoor game camera picked up the two images attached (one still; one movie) Thursday morning in the wee hours at our home in Aptos.  In the movie, he’s sniffing at our bedroom window.  We used to have a bird feeder attached to that window to entertain our cat but the feeder drew rats, not birds, and while that interested our cat it mostly just upset all of us.  (We kidded about it being a potential owl feeder as we have great horned owls in the oak trees nearby!)  I wonder if the coyote had caught rats here before and came for supper or if he heard us or saw the cat in the window.  We have a water basin in the back yard so when he turns to go around the house we think that may have been where he was headed.  This could explain why we haven’t seen the deer herd in our yard for the past week. They’ve probably distanced themselves from the coyote activity.

Note: Please read Melanie Piazza’s information on catios and how to keep your cat safe: Reversing the CATastrophe.

Eye Sore

This young female coyote spent considerable time rubbing and scratching her sore eye with her wrist, possibly even with her dew claw. When her wrist was not up in her eye to relieve the itch or pain, or possibly to dislodge the irritant, you could see that the eye was red, swollen, teared-up and recessed a little. I don’t know what was going on, except that it bothered her. I’ve seen quite a number of eye-injuries or irritations in coyotes, so it must be a fairly common malady. They are close to the ground where sticks, brambles, grit and bugs could easily get caught in and become lodged in their eyes. Coyotes are particularly dependent on their binocular vision for hunting, so it was important for her to take care of her afflicted eye.

We all tend to forget that wildlife has its share of ailments and injuries, not dissimilar to our own, and that even if these don’t incapacitate an animal, they make it that much more difficult to perform their daily living routines, and can serve to shorten their lives.

By the time I saw her on the next day she was no longer tending the eye — the affliction had passed.

 

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Coyote Afflicted with Mange in Danville, CA is Hit By A Car

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Hey everyone, the rules of “don’t feed” are to discourage healthy coyotes from hanging around, but when a coyote, or any animal for that matter, obviously and badly needs help, we need to help it. The advice given to this neighborhood — to not leave out food or water — was thoughtless advice imposed from “rules” that have become too generalized.

Coyotes who are affected by mange, or anything that alters their appearance, are shunned by other coyotes and ousted from their social groups and their territories. Besides causing a very obvious change in the coyote’s appearance, mange also is extremely contagious. The mite causing the skin disease burrows deeply, causing excruciating itching. The coyote scratches so hard that bald spots result on his skin. The skin, then, cannot carry out its protective function. Slowly, all bodily functions become diminished.

The shunning of such an animal by other coyotes may serve to isolate the animal so that these other coyotes do not get infected by the mite. Shunned animals have to make it on their own now, in unfamiliar areas where they may not know the best food sources. So they become more visible not only because they look odd and have lost their camouflage, but also because they are now moving around in new, unfamiliar areas where survival is now that much more difficult. So mange causes both social and bodily issues for coyotes.

People could have helped this coyote both with food and with medications until the animal could be caught and helped more intensively. Instead they were instructed to stick to “rules” which did not fit “the case”. Let’s be humane towards our wild animals — here we could have helped abate the misery of an already suffering animal.

http://kron4.com/2016/09/05/sick-danville-coyote-reportedly-hit-killed-by-car/

Westside Observer Publishes “Circling The Wagons Around Our Coyotes”

The Westside Observer has published a more concise version (1/3 the length) of the same article which I published here on Coyote Yipps on August 15th. If you didn’t want to read that because it might have been too long, this version is much shorter.

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To read on, press here: http://www.westsideobserver.com/news/coyotes.html#sep16

Having A Mellow Dog Is Not Insurance That A Coyote Will Not Approach

2016-04-12“My dog is the mildest, shiest dog I’ve ever known. She startles at everything — runs from the drop of a pin. Yet, two coyotes approached her anyway, dashing in our direction from the distance. At first I thought they were two dogs who wanted to play, so I didn’t do anything, but as they hurried closer, I realized my mistake too late.

They headed immediately for her rear end.  She had been unleashed, but fortunately she didn’t run off. I grabbed her and leashed her. I kept my eyes on the coyotes which is what seemed to keep them away as I slowly backed out of the situation and then walked away. It was very frightening.”

A coyote doesn’t care if your dog is aggressive or mild — all the coyote cares about is that the dog is in its space. In fact, it is often the calmer dogs that coyotes attempt to *message*, either through body language (which most dogs can’t read) or more directly by nipping the dog’s haunches if the coyote can get close enough. Coyotes may pick a milder dog to message simply because they are able to do so — it’s easier — whereas it is more dangerous, in their eyes, to message an aggressive dog. So a dog’s mildness is not a factor in attracting a coyote’s interest to a dog. Whether calm or barking aggressively and lunging at them, any dog could be “messaged” to move it away. Remember that coyotes would do the same for intruder coyotes — this is a function of their territorial behavior.

It appears that this particular dog and owner happened upon one the coyotes’ favorite “lookout” spots — folks had seen the coyotes often relaxing in this spot. The dog was standing there, in a solidly planted stance, as if he were claiming the spot, staring at the coyotes as they came in closer. Another contributing factor may be that these coyotes might have just been chased by another dog — dogs chase coyotes often. I’ve noticed  that sometimes coyotes are more eager to “message” other dogs when they themselves have just been provoked by intrusive dogs, and I’ve seen them choose a milder dog to do so. This can be prevented by moving away from coyotes the minute you see them: doing so shows them that you are not interested in them and not there to threaten them or fight for the spot.

Please always remain aware and vigilant when you walk your dog in a park with coyotes. If this owner had been aware from the start, she could have leashed and moved away as the coyotes approached — this is what the coyotes wanted, and it is something that is easy to do. And it would have saved the dog-owner from a lot of unnecessary fear and anxiety.

Gusty Winds and Gutsy Coyote

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It wasn’t just a wind-in-the-willows gentle breeze. The gusts today whipped the trees and grasses around, blew my tied-on sunhat right off after blowing the rim over on itself every time I pulled it down, and it was strong enough to push me off balance on a rocky trail. Whoa! It was even difficult to hold the camera steady. Often, winds accompany our much-loved fog which serves as natural air-conditioning, keeping summer temperatures here in San Francisco regularly in the 60s (54 this evening) with pockets of warmness in-between. Today they were uncommonly gusty and strong. And the gutsy little coyote was out in it.

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Why “gutsy”? Why would I call a coyote that? Because he appeared intrepid, indomitable, and plucky maneuvering through that very scary landscape. His actions and expressions told me that he was afraid, but he trudged on.  He not only braved the normally dangerous-for-him park landscape, avoiding detection by dogs and humans, but also, today, he coped with all the startling noises and sudden movements caused by the incessant bursts of gusty winds: cracking branches, brambles and sand suddenly in movement along a path, leaves flying through the air, tree branches whipping this way and that, bushes leaning over and then snapping back up again — and, the wind itself pushing against him. I know this, because I, too, felt it.

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He flinched, he ducked, he startled & spooked, crouched low, made sudden darts, looked up and around. And then he continued on his way, sometimes ignoring these interferences as he got used to them while keeping his head low, and sometimes reacting to the unexpected, like the release of a tight rubber-band. What struck me was his total and keen awareness of every detailed effect of that spooky wind, which heightened my own awareness of it all as I watched him, and heightened my awareness of him in his environment: today I appreciated him as a really gutsy coyote!

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