Coyotes and Natural Disasters, by Lisa Febre

Can animals predict disasters? I’ve heard that Native American and Mexican cultures tend to believe that coyotes can give us non-scientific, anecdotal clue as to when something is going to happen. Most times, this has translated to increased coyote activity indicating a weather change: maybe a cold snap or a heat wave is on it’s way. It may be coincidental, but it is fun to hear coyotes at night and the next day an unexpected afternoon rain happens. 

This month, though, we wondered if the coyotes were giving us the head’s up to a bigger disaster on the way: a wildfire. For a few days in a row, there was a noticeable increase coyote vocalizations during the night. It’s not uncommon to hear howling & yipping, but it seemed like they were louder, there were more coyotes involved, and their choruses were lasting longer overall. In the wee hours of the morning of October 14, we captured this on our backyard security camera: 

And 8 hours later, this happened:

Were the coyotes predicting the fire or just an impending change to their world? Possibly. But since the fire, which burned about 2 acres of our Santa Susana Pass Historic State Park, it isn’t difficult to imagine that a bit of their territory has been disrupted and they are a little off balance. My ears tell me that they are not down in our neighborhoods during the night following the fire as much as they were before, and their calls seem to be coming more from inside the park now — distant and a little less frequent. 

We are lucky that CalFire hit this wildfire so quickly, they knocked it down in about 3 hours, but the devastation to the area is obvious. The animals of the park are certainly displaced, and in time all will regrow and repopulate. But until then, we have some incredible, other worldly landscapes to walk through.

Thanks Janet! 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindie W
    Oct 22, 2020 @ 04:47:45

    Thank you for sharing. 💖


  2. Michelle Tepper
    Oct 23, 2020 @ 19:50:16

    Lisa, this is fascinating! I wonder if they could sense if an earthquake is coming. The article and the sound clip are were a nice break from my workday to give pause to nature even though I am in my office. Thanks!


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