Mom Steals The Rat, Plays Catch-Me-If-You-Can and Then Tug-Of-War

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The Mom was lying down, watching the activity of her two youngsters — 20 month-olds. One youngster went off and disappeared into the bushes, but the other pounced and caught a rat. He played with it for a moment and then seems to have abandoned it. The mother took it all in. Probably only a mother could get away with stealing your rat — and this became her deliberate intention. To indicate that her intentions were casual, she got up and stretched. She walked over to the younger coyote and gave him a nose-touch, but then, again, stretched right in front of him to make sure he saw this. She then walked up to the dead rat which the youngster had abandoned, she grabbed the rat and ran off as the youngster recognized what she had done: she took his rat!  Or, maybe the rat had become fair game once it had been dropped and abandoned by the youngster?

Anyway, the younger coyote ended up chasing Mom — all in play as can be seen in the photos. And when he finally did catch up, there was was tug of war: it was a friendly tug of war, with neither side pulling too hard. In the end, the rat was dropped and abandoned by both of these coyotes, but not before being “marked”, or urinated on, by the youngster, a signal that he was claiming it as his own. What caused the coyotes’ attention to be diverted were walkers who appeared on the path in the distance. This entire “play session” lasted about 8 minutes.

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