A Hunting Episode

This coyote was lolling around — it didn’t seem particularly directed in its activities. I found it standing on a path. Upon seeing me, it lay down — it was obviously not pressed for time. After a while, it trotted up on a sidewalk and then to an area under some trees. Here, from this hidden position, sitting with ears and eyes ahead, it watched a couple of dogs who could not see it. I was in a position where I could see that, only 10 feet away from the coyote, there was a slight, but obvious movement of a few blades of grass. Since nothing else around the area moved, I knew there was a gopher underground fixing up its home. Since the coyote didn’t seem to see it, I ignored it too.

The coyote finally yawned and stretched — I have seen them do this when they have decided to move on. As it did so, its head  swiveled right over the gopher’s area — and its attention was snagged. For ten minutes this coyote “triangulated”, cocking its head from side to side and watching the ground. It was very patient. Finally, I could see the coyote’s limbs tighten and UP it went and then down it came, head first into the gopher hole. I believe, but I don’t know for sure, that coyotes deliver a stunning bite to their prey with this initial attack. The coyote did not end up with a gopher initially. But it dug this way and that way, very quickly, and then stuck its snout in the hole several times. It finally had the gopher.

The gopher was tossed to the ground and “bitten” several times. It was carried off a few feet and this tossing and biting was repeated. Finally it picked up the very large gopher, now limp, in its mouth. It walked a few paces, stood there a moment, and then ran down the hill in the direction of its den. Yes, it had pups — but these were about eight months old now. Still, this mother coyote must have decided that she wanted to make life easier for them — I don’t know if this prolonged feeding is normal or not.  As she ran along her path, a man appeared, but he did not see her. The coyote quickly changed directions to avoid him and was off into the distance.

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