Who’s With The Kids, Mom – by Charles Wood

Here in LA County Monday I saw Mom. I hadn’t sighted her for three weeks. My two dogs were with me.

The video shows Mom standing at an entrance to her den area. The puppies are still too young to be out. No doubt her helpers were busy with the puppies somewhere in the thick brush behind her. Mom’s body language was informative.

Mom was not relaxed and was in a predicament. She couldn’t immediately leave because her puppies were nearby and we were a potential threat. Yet she was outnumbered and felt she couldn’t assert herself, either by facing us, by making direct eye contact, or both. On the other hand, she couldn’t look away, couldn’t show vulnerability. Consequently she half looked at us. Her left rear leg, closest to us, was cocked and ready for action. Her body language said concurrently “Don’t come here” and “I’m not coming there.” She may not look particularly courageous, but she definitely is.

I was standing when I took the video. When done, I sat down. Mom left a few moments later, having read me correctly as not opposing her. My dogs and I left to stand and watch at a the rendezvous spot.

Dad showed there twelve minutes later. He stood still and made some direct eye contact. I made the dogs lie down. Once they were down, Dad sat. He didn’t get up again until I made the dogs get up to leave. When the dogs rose, so did Dad.

At issue between my dogs and both coyotes was contact. The coyotes didn’t want contact. They wanted us to go away.

As an aside, I’ve been seeing lots of rabbits lately. About ten minutes before Mom showed Monday, two rabbits, as is their habit, scurried around on the road and went into the brush near where Mom later stood. Similarly in the rendezvous area, a few rabbits bound around. Yet rabbit movement doesn’t appear to be tied to the coming or going of my coyotes. When I see rabbits moving around in the open at dusk, in areas my coyotes come every day at that time, I shake my head and wonder about rabbit minds. Still, I’ve never seen my coyotes bother any of those frisky rabbits at dusk.

Dad

A year ago, a pet black rabbit was abandoned in the park near my coyotes’ home. I’ve seen my coyotes close to where that black rabbit resides. A year ago, thinking myself wise, I gave the rabbit two weeks tops. It was sad that the coyotes would take it, I thought, and contemplated nature’s hard ways. I was wrong. I see the black rabbit most days when I go see my coyotes, saw it a few days ago and it is fine.

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