Found: Another Toy Treasure

Coyotes love to play, either with each other, or alone with a toy they have found. A toy is anything that has the potential for fun. In this case it was a child’s lost lady-bug doll. Although our human eyes might be drawn to the toy’s bright red color, as far as I’ve been able to find out, canine’s can’t really see red. A red ball tossed onto a lawn is much more difficult for a dog to find than a yellow one.

Toys are pulled, tossed and torn apart. They are rolled on and urinated on. Sometimes they appear to be lovingly caressed. More often than not, a young coyote will eventually leave his toy to return to it later, but I’ve also seen a coyote carry his toy several hundred feet before dropping it in a very unconcerned way and then continuing on himself without the toy. The day after I took these photos I found parts of this toy strewn over some distance: plastic, cloth, cotton stuffing. This is no different from the way a dog would play with a toy. The main difference I have seen is that a coyote will very often “mark” his found treasure — he definitely wants to claim it as his own. I don’t know if this “claim” is for the benefit of dogs visiting the park, or for his own family members.

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