Amusement Draws Imitation

Coyotes love to play. Here, during a break from playing with another coyote, this fellow began yanking and tearing at a stick. He became very absorbed in the activity and was obviously having a great time. The other coyote watched, and was drawn into trying the same thing. He tried doing the same with another branch and then came over, thinking the first coyote’s twig was where the magic lay.  But his heart just wasn’t into it as much as the first coyote’s: the sheer fun was not to be had by imitating. Eventually the two went romping off together.

Another instance of superficial imitation I’ve seen was when young coyotes were imitating their mother in warning off a dog which she, but not they, thought was a threat. The activity didn’t go very far that time either. Coyotes chief method of learning is imitation, so I’m sure they will eventually “get it” as they mature.

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