The Interpretation

The “spooked” posting continues with an “interpretation”. These photos here show the same thing going on as in that posting: a spooked or surprised coyote hurries away from a dog and its owner, up to a ledge where it begins a distressed barking session until the dog and owner are far gone, and then follows them for a short distance or waits to make sure they are gone.

Dog owners who understand the situation are always amused at this behavior. They seem to comprehend coyote behavior especially when their own dogs are involved. However, I remember various instances of when a dog owner, after this exact same behavior, announced far and wide that there was an “aggressive” coyote out stalking him and his dog. It’s so sad when someone spreads fear and maliciousness about a coyote who basically just wants to be left alone.

Yes, there was the distressed barking, and the coyote did spend some moments watching the dogs that had spooked it. Those of us who have come to know various of our local coyotes can attest to what was going on. But anyone who doesn’t know coyotes or understand their behavior, anyone with the tiniest bit of fear, will spin a tale, and, as the story spreads, it grows, until you have a sensational story all ready for the press.

Coyotes will defend themselves and their territories against dogs. This is why it is best to leash dogs in coyote areas: dogs and coyotes need to be kept apart. But a spooked coyote is just that, not an aggressor.

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