Any Human-Made Item Could Cause Injuries

Chewing on a three-inch hard plastic vial found left on the ground in a park

Chewing on a three-inch hard plastic vial found left on the ground in a park

Please don’t leave your trash lying around! It could injure an animal, even if it’s something as simple and seemingly-benign as a hard plastic container, as seen here. There’s enough out there that these animals have to deal with without having to deal with our made-for-human toss-offs.

This coyote found and chewed on a hard plastic vial. A piece of the hard plastic splintered off and could have become stuck in the coyote’s mouth, possibly lodging between her teeth or in her gums, creating discomfort and maybe an injury more severe than mere discomfort.  She used her paws in attempting to dislodge it. Pets are often taken to the vet for items that become lodged in their mouths, throats or stomachs. Wild animals don’t have this option.

3" hard plastic, splintered by the coyote's chewing.

3″  hard plastic splintered by the coyote’s chewing.

At first glance, it looked as though she was dealing with a paw or an eye injury, but notice that she used both paws and continually brought them to way back of the jaw on both sides. And this behavior happened right after chewing that piece of hard plastic. She worked hard to dislodge the uncomfortable or painful item, standing there patiently as she did so, but I have no idea if she was successful. When an animal can’t “fix” something like this, they learn to live with it. If she didn’t get it out, maybe her body will somehow expel it: nature can fix many things. But what if it doesn’t? We can prevent many of these occurrences simply by picking up after ourselves.

I'm not sure she was successful in removing what was bothering her :(

I’m not sure she was successful in removing what was bothering her :(

Unrelated to this story, but of interest, is this story involving my brother’s dog. Several years ago my brother’s Golden Retriever began avoiding him, slinking into a corner for several days before my brother forced the issue and discovered a substantial piece of metal wedged around his dog’s teeth. The dog apparently was fearful of being ostracized for this new *malady*, preferring not to be seen rather than asking for help. In the wild, many animals are shunned from their social groups if they look or act odd. Might the dog have been fearful of this?

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