An Injury, and A Sweet Confirmation About His Devotion to Her

Photo of the coyote hanging out the previous day.

The injury was first noticed the previous morning. I was told that it was a bad limp — the devoted neighbors were worried and concerned for his safety and his life: “What should we do?” I advised that, if the coyote was mobile, he should be left alone — he would be okay.

I went out before dawn the next day to assess the extent of the injury and exactly what was injured: be it paw, leg, joint, or hip, along with the coyote’s demeanor and mobility. I spotted the fella and his mate right off, foraging in the bushes.

Well, he was very mobile, and his disposition was great. In fact, he was more concerned about his mate than about himself! This was ever so sweet to see. When I first encountered them, SHE ran off to stay hidden, after which HE spent time looking around for her, found her and ran to be with her. She is much shyer than he is. They then both walked together for a stretch, but as dawn broke and people started to gather, she hurried down a little used street to keep away. He watched her go, staying back so that HE would be the attractant and not her, thus allowing her to slip away undisturbed. As he watched her go, he gingerly walked on his leg a little but did not put much weight on it when he stood still. Then, when she was almost out of view, he hurried along after her: this is when the limp became noticeable: at a faster pace, he had to hold up his injured leg.

So, as the video shows, he’s quite mobile, and he has not lost his spirit, indicating that he was taking care of himself just fine. It’s always best to allow wild animals to heal on their own: nature is a marvelous healer if you allow it to do its magic. Intervention is not necessary here, and in fact could do more harm than good. The process of intervening would be traumatizing not only to the injured coyote, but to his entire family which depends on him as the leader and authority figure for his family — it would be extremely disruptive for them to find him gone. Intervention may indeed be needed sometimes, but more often it is not necessary. We’ll keep an eye on his improvement over the next couple of weeks to make sure he doesn’t regress.

I’ve seen lots of leg and hip injuries. Every one of those I’ve seen has resolved itself pretty quickly except one, which simply took longer — several months. THAT coyote had been hit by a car. I was lucky enough to run into an eye-witness of the accident. The witness wanted to help the coyote but the coyote slipped away and they could not find her. It turned out to be a good thing because, months later, we discovered that she was raising two pups as a single mom. They would have perished without her. We knew that her mate had been killed before the pups were born, apparently by rat poison. This speaks volumes for coyotes’ resiliency: normally both father and mother raise the young.

Here is another bad hip injury which resolved itself in a couple of days: Injured coyote – collapsing hip and leg.

UPDATE from three days later: Good news to report! The injured fella has been walking AND trotting solidly on all fours, in addition to howling with the sirens. Injured animals tend to remain quiet and under-the-radar for a while, but this coyote’s injury clearly is no longer hampering his style.  Yay!

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindie
    Dec 26, 2017 @ 09:36:05

    Another fascinating story. I just love it that you keep a close eye out for the coyotes and educate us! I love being intimate with them through your lens. Thank you.


  2. Bobbie Pyron
    Dec 26, 2017 @ 16:14:42

    He deserves Coyote Husband of the Year Award :). We could all learn something from this “tail” of devotion. Thank you Janet!


  3. Gail
    Dec 26, 2017 @ 21:22:08

    Thanks for this beautiful Christmas gift, Janet!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 26, 2017 @ 21:38:47

      Glad you liked the story, Gail! Getting along with coyotes happens when people make the smallest effort to do so, no different from getting along with human neighbors. It’s up to those of us in-the-know to show how easily it can be done, through education and example. Thank you for contributing to this!

  4. H Snow
    Dec 26, 2017 @ 22:47:12

    Sweet story and I am glad he’s feeling better.


  5. Bob Tarte
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 19:23:45

    Wonderful blog, Janet. Thanks so much for your close observations of the coyotes and for your love of them.


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