“Pictures are worth a thousand words.” These photos depict a triad of coyote lads playing. There’s horsing around, cuddling, competition, domination, ownership, and some teeth-baring reactions.

A ball they found is included in the play. You’ll see them run with the ball, chase each other, roll it with their noses, battle for it, entice the others with it, coddle the ball lovingly, play tug-of-war with it.

You’ll also see them play without the ball: teasingly grabbing or nipping another’s leg, provokingly grabbing another’s back, somersaulting over another or tumbling over each other in an affectionate pileup, lying on each other, nibbling on each other.

They played for about 30 minutes with something happening every second of that time. I’ve limited this posting to include about one photo a minute — it was hard culling them down to just 40 photos! Second from the bottom is a slide show you can quickly flip through by pressing the advance arrow, or you can let it play at it’s own speed.

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What I describe above is what meets the uninitiated eye, and it is, in fact, what is going on. But there is more going on. The playing includes subtle hints (subtle to us) of one-upmanship from one of the coyotes towards the other two: this challenging type of play comes only from that one coyote and not the others. The other thing going on is that this trio of coyotes, by their extended presence here, has claimed the area as their own in opposition to the dogs who have been banned from congregating in the area due to the coronavirus. So dogs and owners are actually looking in on this activity and the coyotes are knowingly “performing” for them.

© All information and photos in my postings come from my original and first-hand documentation work which is copyrighted and may only be re-used with proper credit.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail Pettit
    May 05, 2020 @ 00:43:30

    How cool, canids are play!!!!! I love it. We should toss them some other tug toys to play with. I sense their pure joy at the freedom they have to be their true relaxed playful selves. They earned this down time to be fearless and truly bond with each other. This builds greater bonds for later when they need to protect the family. Wonderful pictures Janet!!!!!!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      May 05, 2020 @ 06:04:56

      Hi Gail — The point I’m trying to make is that “the pure joy and freedom of play” is how we humans read the situation at first glance. And there indeed is some of that going on, but there’s a lot more going on. Please re-read the last paragraph: they indeed are wily and wild, and we shouldn’t lose track of that. Also, personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to offer them anything, including tug toys. That just entices humans to get closer to them and heads them towards being “tamed”. I think they should just be left alone and loved for who they are.

  2. Jo Thompson
    May 05, 2020 @ 11:48:23

    Such social beings. Such remarkable and beautiful beings. Thank you so much for sharing these incredible but also very normal images of coyotes. I am truly grateful to share this earth with them.


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