The Day The Pummeled Pup Didn’t Appear

The female pup, to the left, keeps away from Mom who surveys the area from up on a hill

I continue to observe this family during their time of family strife — I guess that’s what it is. The next day Mom again appeared on the scene, briefly, midway up a steep incline. The female pup, at the foot of the hill, looked up at her but just kept walking away from her mother and then watched her from behind a bush. Mom soon walked out of view.

The next day I saw the walloped coyote pup alone in a field for a portion of the afternoon. She was out much earlier than usual. Had she removed herself from the company of the others on purpose? Where was the rest of the family?

keeping to herself

keeping to herself

And the next day, she still kept to herself. I saw her walk away even from Dad, a coyote who has lots of affection for his pups and still indulges them with food at 7 months of age. Mom was the only one in the family who was not around. All the other pups watched intently, standing still, and moving their gazes between Dad and the battered one. Had something happened to that relationship, too, or was she just being careful about everyone? She kept to herself, and soon all of them retreated into the bushes.

Then came the day when the pummeled pup didn’t appear at all, and for the next few days I saw neither Mom nor this pup. My initial thought was that, indeed, the pup had been forced out. On this day, two of her siblings were foraging in an open area when Dad appeared on the crest of a distant hill. Both pups dashed towards him, and he came down to meet them. There was an intense greeting, as usual — Dad had brought food for them. He still brings them presents and is loved for this. They ate whatever he had provided for them. Dad has been around less frequently lately, probably because of his injury several weeks ago, so it was a surprise to see him. He was still limping, and his face still bore scars, but I suppose he knew he was needed to check up on his pups and give them some food. I noticed on this day that, not only was his left back leg injured, but he was holding up a front leg, too, at times.

Dad feeds two other pups

After supplying the food to his pups, Dad went up the hill he had come from, and the pups went down the same hill — they had met midway — keeping an eye on each other for about half an hour. Then, first one pup, then the other one, went into the bushes for the day. Dad stayed out just a few more minutes, and then got up and wandered off to his private getaway. Coyote pups and their parents do not necessarily rest in the same locations. In this case, it was obvious that all concerned knew where “their” specific resting places were.

The clobbered pup was nowhere in sight — this was the first day she has been absent, and her absence was blatant to me. And, of course, because she was gone, she did not participate this time in the wiggly-squiggly greeting with Dad, nor did she partake of the treat he had brought.

For the next few days I only ever saw one of the other pups in the field — never the punished one — and it was always alone and didn’t stay out for too long.

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