Display of Temper and Anger at Being Thwarted

This story is second-hand to me, as told to me by a volunteer at one of the wildlife rehabilitation centers in this area. Apparently a coyote was brought into the center with an injured leg. Unless the circumstances are extremely dire, this should never be done. A coyote can heal on its own, or even live with its injuries. Removing a coyote from its family situation is just about the worst thing that can happen to it. Coyotes are part of an extremely strong family network, with their social status and duties well worked out — each coyote knows what it can expect from the others and from itself. When a coyote is removed — because we humans think we can handle the situation better than they can — the scheme is disrupted. There is intense mourning for the individual lost — how would they know that the removal might only be temporary? —  nothing will ever be the same. They re-organize and begin to function in this new mode. Then the “rehabilitated” coyote is returned, whereupon this coyote now must be reaccepted and claim its previous spot. I can imagine that everything does not fall into place smoothly.

The story I want to tell, which surprised me, was that of an injured coyote who was captured and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Here it was treated and confined. The coyote did not want to put up with the confinement — it was “trapped” — it was like being in jail with the added fear that it didn’t know when its captors were going to hurt it or possibly eat it. Being captured and confined is a terrifying experience for all animals. The coyote displayed its intense anger and immense temper by actually lifting its bowl in its jaws — picking up the heavy ceramic bowl filled with food, and smashing it into pieces against the floor — at every single meal. That this coyote was effectively displaying that it was mad might be revealing to some of us humans. Coyotes have all the intense feelings that humans have — we need to recognize this. This coyote wanted to be set free to rejoin its family, but the coyote could do nothing about it.

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