Anger


This is the same happy coyote who is in the previous posting, “BURSTING with Happiness”. But now she has been chased by a large four-year-old white female dog, a 90-pound Pyrador, who is a repeat-chaser. The female dog taunts the coyote on purpose: the dog gives chase to the coyote and even stops at the coyote’s favorite lookout/resting spots and pees there in a sort of “take that!” way. Peeing is used by dogs to communicate dominance and one-upmanship.

The coyote’s reaction to this treatment is anger. She doesn’t get angry often. In fact, she only complains distressingly and angrily this way when this one particular dog chases her, even though other dogs, too, chase her. If you need confirmation that she’s angry, twice towards the end of the video clip you’ll see her kicking the ground, which is a display of anger. She is very upset. Yes, coyotes have feelings.

Below are more photos of anger. These are of another coyote — in this case, a male — displaying his anger in the same way by *kicking the dirt*. He’s not marking his territory. He’s not spreading his scent. He’s upset and angry because a dog has taken the liberty to act disrespectfully towards him in his territory. The dog is a two-year-old female German Shepherd who has, as in the first example, chased the coyote in the past.

These photos were taken as the dog was playing frisbee exuberantly with her owner. The owner kept his dog from chasing the coyote this time.  I tend to think it’s less the dog’s presence — after all, other dogs are not reacted to in this fashion by this coyote — than the dog’s “oneupmanship” and “dismissive” attitude towards the coyote which is so upsetting to the coyote. You’d be surprised at how much is communicated below the reach of human radar. If the owner were not around, the coyote would probably be messaging the dog much more firmly: say, with a nip to the haunches. The message would mean, “go away, leave me alone, leave my territory alone”. It’s how coyotes communicate to each other. When the dog and owner finally left the area, the coyote finally relaxed.

And here’s my favorite example from years ago of the same coyote-anger-display towards a dog who, again, intruded upon a peacefully resting coyote by chasing after it. The coyote turned and faced the challenging dog as in the previous examples: it’s not unlike a provoked bull in a bullfight. The intensity of the anger can be seen in the kicked-up flying debris. In the latter two cases, there were young pups around, hidden nearby.

Also see: Display of Temper and Anger at Being Thwarted.

Narrowed-Eyes

A slight narrowing of the eyes is an instinctual, universal expression of anger across various species in the animal world. Today I noticed a coyote narrow its eyes a number of times. I was also able to take a photo of the eyes not-narrowed each time, so you can see the difference. The three photos on the first line show the narrowed eyes, the second line shows normal eyes. The other expression that a coyote uses when it feels displeasure is tightening of the lips so that the teeth show. This is not always meant as a communication, because in these cases sometimes it did not occur when another animal was close enough to have noticed. So it also is an expression of the coyote’s inner emotional state. The 7th photo shows this clearly. The 8th and 9th photos are of a coyote grunting in disapproval — actually preparing to bark. The barking did not begin in these instances.

When did these expressions occur? When dogs were coming towards the coyote, OR when the coyote saw dogs that have intruded upon it in the past! As you can see, our urban coyotes have strong feelings based on their own past experiences and on feeling themselves threatened. I have only seen this in dominant female coyotes.