Playfulness & Performing: Coyote Behavior

Today I spotted a young coyote which I have named Silver. I name some of the coyotes to be able to distinguish them. This one seemed at loose ends when I saw it, and it continued to be at loose ends the entire time I watched it! All of its activities seem to emanate from boredom! Besides entertaining itself, this coyote appeared to be doing so for my benefit. I say this, because, just like a young puppy, it would engage in playful activities, and then look up to make sure I was watching!!

I was able to watch this for about half an hour, at a considerable distance, so the photos are not great. It seemed to be hanging out in the area with nothing to do when it became aware of me. It wandered around for short periods, and then stopped to look at me, very casually. At one point it looked down over a steep ledge — it appeared to have heard something, but did not pursue this. Then it meandered casually over to a rock, looked at me, and then tugged at something in the soil, stopping to look at me sometimes as it did so. Finally it had something in its mouth — one of the photos shows a white thing, almost the shape of a rice-cake. But a rice cake would not have been found here. It was not an animal. Anyway, the coyote chewed on this, then stood up, and then chewed some more at the back of its mouth before swallowing it. Then it meandered on.

A few minutes later it curled up on another rock where I noticed it had pick up some kind of human made wrapper. The coyote held this wrapper for a while before dropping it and getting up again.

Then it wandered over again to the rock where it had eaten the “rice cake”. Here it poked its nose into the ground and then moved the dirt over with a paw, and then it looked at me. Then it began tugging hard on something — it might have been a rooted twig. The coyote put considerable effort into pulling — it looked like a puppy playing tug of war. The item did not give way, so the coyote gave up.

Then the coyote meandered around some more and disappeared. I packed up to go and was walking off, when the coyote again appeared on the hill again, sitting. It was studying my actions. Finally it must have been time for it to go, because with a little more direction in its actions it went off to a steep incline where it bounded down, seemingly joyfully, pouncing and leaping high over the growth there as it went. It was gone for the day.

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