A Foot Is Put Down

holding a foot down

The vole was caught, but it tried to get away, of course. As it reached the other side of the path the coyote extended a foot and put it down on top of the prey, pinning it down, trapping it and sealing its fate. The coyote stood up and kept its weight on its prey for a full ten seconds — an incredibly long period of time when life and death are concerned — standing absolutely still and looking off into the distance. I actually could not tell that this is what was happening until the coyote finally bent down to pick up in his mouth what was under his foot and run off with it before eating it.

In most instances that I have seen, a coyote will scramble quickly to get a firm hold of its prey in its mouth to prevent it from slipping away. But this time there was a calmness as the coyote stood there with his weight on the vole. Had he been squeezing it to death — preventing respiration –on purpose, the same as the hawks do? I have seen hawks hold onto and squeeze a rodent over what felt like a long time, but in fact was only about ten seconds, while looking calmly off into the distance, exactly as the coyote had done. It points to a behavior and a use of the legs which I have not seen before.

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