Bug-In-Ear Attack

Imagine having something super irritating lodge in your ear and not be able to get it out. I watched this young coyote work on it for 20 minutes. I could feel when the distress got excruciating: the coyote ran towards bushes to dislodge whatever was in there, he ran towards another coyote to ask for help but didn’t get any response, he shook, he scratched, he galloped about, rubbed on bushes, he moped forlornly with his ears down, he tilted is head in all directions. He ultimately resorted to eating grass which coyotes do when they have an upset stomach — of course this didn’t work. I was not able to see that he solved the problem.  I really felt for the little guy.

We humans have our own worries, so we forget that even wild creatures, too, have many seemingly mundane things to cope with. I’ve seen thorns in foot pads, eye infections, ears infestated with mites, limping, skin ailments, wounds, etc. These things occur regularly in our wildlife. This series of photos, over a long twenty minute period, show how distressing it can be for animals to deal with these seemingly petty annoyances.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 06:40:41

    Just wanted to tell our story of an encounter with a coyote and our dogs [2 schnauzers].
    We were out today for a walk along the creek bed in Edmonton Alberta, and had walked about 1 hr on the frozen creek in a ravine. On the way back our two dogs were suddenly focused on something and then ran off ahead of us about 20 yards. I was watching them run my husband said what is that? i said what? and saw something on the ice and then realized it was a coyote who was lying down and by the time the dogs got to it [by this time i was scared and had visions of one or both of them being attacked or running after it and being attacked in the bush by others] had gotten up and the dogs were right behind it….I pulled off my gloves and whistled to the dogs and thankfully they ran back to us.. and the coyote ran up the bank slinking with its tail down…. not sure if we surprised it or if it was trying to lure the dogs back into the bush up over the bank of the creek. Anyway, it made me realize the importance of a leash!


    • yipps
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 15:07:47

      Hi Catherine — Thanks for sharing the story about your surprise coyote encounter. I know that an encounter can be very exciting — either scary or thrilling, depending on how you see coyotes. If the coyote ran slinking away with its tail down, it is not likely to have been luring your dogs away from you. I would guess that the animal was just relaxing and curiously watching your “team” pass through its territory. Your dogs charged towards him, so he ran off. Still, especially with small dogs, it’s a good idea to keep them leashed in coyote territories — this protects both the coyotes and the dogs! Janet

    • Catherine
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 15:54:55

      Yes, it was submissive behavior on the coyote’s part when the dogs ran right up to it….so I was wondering if it was just sunning itself or it was a calculated move as they are very in tune with their natural environment and we were walking on snow covered ice which is not that quiet. We have seen lots in the wild/city here as we have a large river valley and numerous ravines that run right thru our city, so nature is in our back yard!

    • yipps
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 16:07:50

      Hi Catherine — From what you wrote me, I don’t think you saw enough of the coyote’s behavior to know what it was doing. The important thing is to respect wildlife — it is not out to get you — it is doing what it has to do, what it has been programmed to do, to survive. I think it’s up to us to understand this and to not create situations that might end up damaging either the coyotes or our dogs: coyotes are protective of their territories and see dogs as possible threats. A leash helps. You are lucky to have nature as your back yard!! Janet

  2. Charles Wood
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 21:31:42

    Hi Janet and Catherine. I believe the coyote was also reacting to human presence. From the coyote’s point of view, a group of four approached it. 20 yards is pretty close. For a coyote 20 yards or so is well inside its discomfort zone. A hundred yards would have been a more comfortable distance for the coyote. Its body language in leaving indicated to the group that it didn’t want trouble.The dogs may have been in front of the group, but I’m sure the coyote was assessing the entire situation and responding to humans too.


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