Signs of Scat, An Old Coyote, A Sick Ewe and A Dead Rabbit: More on Ginny’s Coyote Area

Hi Janet,

scat upon scat (now with mold)

Yesterday I walked the other way onto the well-used multi-purpose trail called the Springwater Trail.  The first half mile of the trail heading east has had a lot of scat at times.    This is the area I referred to as being half a mile away and possibly containing a den.  Yesterday there was only one quite recent pile while everything else had been there a week ago.  Today I walked to the pups sighting location.  No new scat anywhere.  I’m wondering if that means the pups have been moved.  I also checked another part of the trail not too far away and found no new scat.  I have seen a lot of it there before also.

We saw the lame coyote once when he trotted in front of our car.  He looked and moved like a very old dog would move and that is why I label him as old.  He is not thin but is very ragged looking.  I have only seen a coyote once on the trail (that is how I found your blog because I wanted to learn all that I could about them) and that was right at the trail entrance near our house.  Hunting for rabbits no doubt!  Bud saw an adult last fall on one of his walks. Both of these had beautiful coats and seemed very healthy.

trail where pups appeared

Last week I met a family with grandparents walking on the trail and mentioned the coyote scat to the children.  The grandparents told me they have sheep and coyotes stand at their fence and sing and whine all the time.  The grandfather told me that recently he had a sick, old ewe and THREE DAYS later when he went to check on her he only found most of her skeleton.  He is sure the coyotes picked her clean – including her gum tissue and ribs.  They said coyotes would infrequently take a newborn lamb after I asked if they thought the coyotes actually killed anything.  Any person who would knowingly leave a sick animal for three days – well I cannot relate to them.  I’m very cautious what I say to people on the trail about the coyotes.   One man we see on the trail is sure someone shot coyotes a few years back.

blackberries through which pups disappeared; there is more scat again now, indicating resumed activity in the immediate area

On Monday I noticed a dead rabbit at the beginning of the trail which is near our house.  It appeared to have died mid-crawl.  I turned it over and did not see any injuries or changes in hair.  About a week earlier Bud said “it smells like something died in the blackberries” as we walked by the same location.  Several neighbors and dog walkers who use the trail came to the same conclusion I did – that a neighbor might be poisoning rabbits.  We are all very concerned.  I really hope this is not the case.  Yes, rabbits do incredible damage to yards and gardens but rabbit fencing keeps them out.  I know, we added it to the existing deer fence around our yard.  Yesterday the rabbit was gone but I suspect a neighbor disposed of it.  I have read that coyotes are very smart about not consuming poisoned food and I hope that is the case here.  We have a family of red-tailed hawks in the greenspace that I am really enjoying and I think they prefer freshly killed prey over carrion.  Poison can travel so fast up and down the food chain.

I’ll let you know if I notice any changes.  I don’t expect to see coyotes because our dog really seems to have a history with coyotes.  He is a Bouvier rescue we have had almost a year.  He spent several years running loose on the NM mesas and he thinks deer, coyotes and rabbits are to be chased.  He also barks like crazy.  I’m sure the local coyotes know him and make sure not to reveal themselves to us!

Ginny


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. charlier64
    Jun 17, 2016 @ 17:48:23

    Carrion eating birds are immune to poisons, so they could easily eat an animal that has been poisoned or is otherwise unfit for consumption for humans and even unfit for dogs. Although canines routinely dig a hole and bury their kills/meat to store them and even to give them time to rot without anything else finding it first and consuming it. They are not harmed by animals that have been medicated either, as I was concerned when I bury any sheep on our farm that die in the manure pile and our Border Collie was going and digging up pieces that I was finding on our front lawn. YUCK! I called my vet and asked him if she would get sick, and he said “No”. I also recall asking my vet if my cat could get sick from eating rats or mice that had died from poisoning and he said they specifically designed the rat/mouse poisons so that couldn’t happen.

    Reply

    • yipps
      Jun 17, 2016 @ 20:46:38

      So much of your comment is shockingly untrue. There is overwhelming evidence that animals are adversely affected by poisons. I can particularly speak to wildlife exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides (rat poisons) and the neurotoxin rodenticide, Bromethalin. I don’t know of any animals, human or non-human who are immune to rodenticides.

      One of the most common carrion eating birds we treat at WildCare are Turkey Vultures. While these birds are thought to have well-developed immune systems, they are not immune to poisons. 89% of the Turkey Vultures we’ve sent to the lab at UC Davis were positive for exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides with one dying as a result of the exposure (not immune!). As for other poisons, in Summer/Fall 2015, WildCare had six Turkey Vultures come in who were exposed to the euthanasia drug sodium pentobarbital. I have attached a letter sent from California Department of Fish and Wildlife to the California Veterinary Medical Association on that very thing and also fact sheet by US Fish and Wildlife.

      I don’t know what kind of poison your comment is referring to but both cats and dogs are adversely affected by anticoagulant rodenticides and Bromethalin. Lethal doses (LD50) have been established in cats and dogs for most types of rodenticides–they do not discriminate between species. I have attached a UC Davis factsheet on rodenticide exposure and toxicosis in dogs.

      This refutes the incorrect information in your comment. Poisons are extremely dangerous to animals.

      There’s quite a bit of info. about rodenticides and how they affect wildlife on the WildCare website: http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/rodenticide“>www.wildcarebayarea.org/rodenticide

      The USFWS factsheet can be found here: http://cpharm.vetmed.vt.edu/USFWS/USFWSFPentobarbFactSheet.pdf.

      There are a few more articles online about the Turkey Vultures exposed to sodium pentobarbital:
      WildCare’s press release: http://support.wildcarebayarea.org/site/DocServer/Euthanasia_Drugs_Reach_Wrong_Animals.pdf?docID=4421
      CVMA article: http://cvma.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/New-Pentobarbital-Victim.pdf
      CDFW blog: https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/another-turkey-vulture-poisoned-by-euthanasia-drug/

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