“I See You Caught Something”

“I see you caught something.” “Yes, but you can’t have any of it.” “I know, I was just looking.”

Several times now I’ve seen a coyote approach another who has caught something, and stare at the food, as though requesting to share it. I wonder how often, if ever, smaller morsels of food are shared?  If that coyote is eating a larger prey, he will leave the second pickings for the next fellow, but not until he has had his fill. I’ve noticed that after the initial gaze — which may or may not involve a request for some of the spoils — the approaching coyote will look in the opposite direction, or move off a substantial distance, where he makes himself look disinterested by looking in the opposite direction. He will sit there and wait patiently.  When the dining coyote makes it clear that he his finished by walking off, the “disinterested” coyote hurries over to eat his fill.

Notice that even though the prey was a substantial size here — it is a gopher — it was swallowed whole. The bones are crunched down — you can actually hear this — and the food slowly becomes compacted enough to be swallowed in a gulp, or in several gulps.  This is not the only way of getting small prey down, because I have also seen gophers torn apart before being eaten. So ultimately, which procedure the coyote follows may depend on the size of the critter caught.

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