One of Scout’s Two 6-Month-Old Pups Killed by a Car

Xochitl (so-cheel) was only six months old when she was hit by a car, probably in the early evening as her body was cold by the time we found it predawn the next morning.

On Friday, before dawn, my friend Melina called me to let me know there was a dead coyote on the road. I was able to meet her 15 minutes later. I identify coyotes by their faces, but it’s almost impossible for me to identify a dead coyote by its face — I need to see the placement of his or her active eyes, among other things.

There had been two different coyote families living on opposite sides of that dangerous road, but recently we hadn’t seen any members of the first family and we kept noticing the second family — Scout’s family — encroach further and further into the first family’s territory. I wanted to confirm its identity by identifying the coyotes that were hanging out close-by.

Melina led me to where she had seen four coyotes up the hill; two were still there when we got there : they were lying down, watching the daybreak. I was able to capture this photo of their silhouettes only because the camera was aimed at the daybreaking sky — but it was too dark to identify them. Melina wondered if their lying there was connected to the dead coyote.

The two coyotes got up when they saw us and headed towards the road which they crossed close to where we picked up the dead pup. My camera would not focus because of lack of light and soon the coyotes were out of sight. Luckily, I spotted them again on the other side of the road, and was able to capture a couple of identifiable images in spite of no light and distance. Yes, this was Scout’s family: the coyotes who had been hanging out were Scooter (Dad) and Scout’s other pup. The two that were no longer there would have been Scout and a yearling.

What remains of Scout’s family now is herself and her mate, a two-year-old male, two yearlings, and one pup born this year. They cross a lot of roads as they cover their fragmented territory — two of them high-speed roads. Cars should be considered the coyotes’ main predator in urban areas.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindie W
    Oct 31, 2022 @ 18:58:20

    My heart is so heavy….


  2. MelindaH
    Oct 31, 2022 @ 19:34:29

    This is unbearably sad. My heart goes out to Scout’s family and to you, Janet. And to all of us who so desperately want them to live.


  3. Sarah A
    Nov 01, 2022 @ 02:30:24

    So sad… heartbreaking.


  4. Gina
    Nov 01, 2022 @ 04:27:08

    Oh, I’m so sorry! This is terrible news. So sad for Scout and for all of us who care about her, and about all the coyotes living among us. I wish people would drive more slowly and carefully. Thank you for reporting on this, Janet.


  5. Dr. James B. Mense
    Nov 05, 2022 @ 14:56:38

    It has always been so. Only the means has changed. It is now cars rather than wolves or Cougars.
    My favorite story concerning the struggle to survive was written by Dr. Paul Errington in his book “The Red Gods Call”. He encountered the tracks of a muskrat near a small spring high up in the mountains. He saw them every day when he passed that spot even though it was no place for a muskrat to be. Than one day there were no more tracks.
    His comment was, “It did not belong there, but it was doing what it could with itself as long as it could.”
    Hopefully Scouts family will move to an area more conducive to their survival.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 05, 2022 @ 15:20:53

      Thanks for your input James. I see it differently. Who knows how things “should” be or where animals “belong”. I think a species “belongs” where it may survive and thrive. Ranchers, farmers and sports hunters kill coyotes massively in rural and wilderness areas. To escape the persecution, coyotes have moved into urban areas — urban areas offer a more peaceful and easier existence. Cars kill coyotes; cars kill people: none of us is moving to an area more conducive to our survival; we’re already in that spot.

    • Dr. James B. Mense
      Nov 06, 2022 @ 04:53:15

      You misunderstand Paul’s meaning of “belong”. Because of high population numbers, the excess animals move out to find new habitats. Many of these end up where they cannot survive. It sounds like Scouts family is living in such a place with high speed vehicles to contend with daily.
      Are you familiar with Errington’s writings on muskrat populations and predation? If not, you should read his books. He was one of Aldo Leopolds early students and regrettably, long dead.

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 06, 2022 @ 13:52:24

      My answer to you has nothing to do with “Paul” or his use of the word “belong”. I’m saying we “belong” where we can survive, even if some of us don’t survive there. There’s no “should” about where we belong, but there’s constant “change”. “Change” is the one constant in our world.

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