Proclaiming

The previous day an unleashed dog had seen the coyote hunting in a field about 300 feet away. The dog took the opportunity to leave the beaten path where his owner was walking with him, and dashed after the coyote into the field, into what has been a safe-haven area for the coyote family. Most dogs are restrained to keep them from going after the coyotes here. Coyotes do not like being intruded upon or chased: they simply want to be left alone. The coyote fled, but stopped short. This intrusion was cause for the coyote to react. She turned around and paid that dog back in kind, pursuing him right at his heels. She may have tried to nip the dog’s heels, though the dog remained uninjured. The message from the coyote to the dog was clear: “leave me and my area alone.”

The very next day in the same area, another large dog, this time one that was leashed, caught sight of the same coyote  an 8-year-old mother, and her 2-year-old son. The dog tugged hard on its leash and lunged as best as he could towards the two coyotes. The owner struggled to contain the unwieldy dog, but anyone watching could see that the more the owner remained in that spot, the more frenzied the dog became.  The dog’s struggle to go after the coyotes went on for way too long when it could have been stopped immediately by the owner just by heading in the opposite direction and thus diverting the dog’s attention and containing his energy. The 2 coyotes reacted to the frenzied dog by going into a long, 13 minute BARKING and screeching session. They were proclaiming their anger, and proclaiming that this area was theirs, warning the dog away. The owner finally heeded the advice given to her: she turned around and left. I’ve seen often that dogs, even simply messaging their intent to go after coyotes in their territories create reactive coyotes — on-edge and readier to respond defensively — rather than coyotes who remain calm because they are left alone.

Here is a video-clip of the barking from that day. I videoed the whole 13 minutes, but have cut that down to about four minutes. Barking (as opposed to howling and yipping) is an angry response — a warning. For comparison, watch and listen to the smaller video below: that one involves two coyotes calling out to each other in upbeat yips and howls.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MelindaH
    Mar 19, 2021 @ 20:47:40

    People make me crazy.

    Reply

  2. lancer223
    Mar 20, 2021 @ 03:34:40

    Thank you for all the great articles you write. I love our cayotes here in my Park. I see them often and they are great to have here and are just fine if you leave them alone. This is their area and people need to remember that. And people who are in charge of forest management need to be aware of the fact that they need the trees to be left alone (including dead trees) because they and all wildlife depend on the natural canopy that helps feed the flora and fauna here in even dense SF.

    Reply

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