Gorging on Loquats

Two years ago coyotes had been to a friend’s yard and eaten up ALL the loquats. Ahhh. This solved the question I had about some scat I had found in May for the first time. This particular type of scat was everywhere, all the time, and I wondered what the fruit was which seemed to be the entirety of the coyote’s diet. I now knew!

1) loquat fruit with seeds; 2) loquat seeds; 3) coyote scat of loquats — seeds and peels

My friend also said that she took a photo of a coyote eating her neighbor Mike’s persimmons and told him about it. The neighbor thanked her for the warning and decided to harvest it all the very next day, before the coyote ate it all. Too late!! The next morning it was ALL gone!!

Coyotes are opportunistic eaters, which means they can eat almost anything — they take advantage of what is available. Although their main staples in the San Francisco area are gophers and voles, they eat lots of other stuff that presents itself. This includes fruit, especially when their regular staples become scarcer. I’ve seen one coyote devour 7 pears in one sitting, and come back each day for about that same amount until the fruit on the ground was gone. The same for apples. A drought, such as what California went through several years ago and over a four year span, affects the availability of food for coyotes. But we humans tend to water our treasured fruit trees here in San Francisco, so in spite of the drought, the trees continue producing, rain or no rain, and loquats are known for doing well in drier climates. Loquat’s become ripe in May through June. So coyotes in the area were relying heavily on this fruit as I could see from their droppings throughout the city.

Most people I’ve spoken to are glad that the fruit helps the coyotes.

The next year, 2017, the fruit tree in Mike’s yard produced not a single loquat, in spite of more and more rains and continued human watering. Hmmm. And the other fruit trees were also mostly bereft of fruit. Apparently it was an “off” year for that type of tree — I did not see that scat anywhere in the city that year.

Anyway, now it is the beginning of July, 2018 and Mike’s tree has been saturated with fruit for months, and we all have been wondering why the local coyote wasn’t eating the fruit — the tree has been more loaded with fruit than ever before. And then, suddenly, it happened — coyote went at them big time, just a few days ago! It appears that the fruit lower in the tree — where a coyote could pick it — ripened last since it had the least amount of direct sun to help it along. Also, the fruit higher up in the tree is now falling to the ground on its own from being overripe: it’s easy for a coyote to just pick up.

The fruit now is over-ripe. That’s when it falls on its own from the tree and is easy to collect for coyotes.

By the way, other fruit from Mike’s yard that coyotes have been eating besides loquats and persimmons are sapote and figs. Mike owns a fruit preserve — his yard — here in San Francisco where years ago he planted all sorts of exotic fruit trees, including loquats, persimmons, sapote, figs and I can’t remember what else. He was picking fruit in his yard today and offered me a slice of sapote which I had never had: it tasted similar to pear but he assured me it was different: the fruit is smaller and has a large seed which pears do not have, and when fully ripe they are sweeter and much softer.