Saturday, May 30, 2009


Coyotes are part of our lives and one of the most fascinating predators in California. My friend Dani, the Vet, gave me a book on Thursday called "The Daily Coyote". A fascinating story about a woman who ends up raising a coyote pup. It is an easy story, sometimes the story is a bit stretched but the pictures compensate for everything else.
Above is a picture of a coyote running throughout the Hayfields. It always amazes me when preserve visitors refuse to believe we have coyotes in our Preserves. You may not see them but they are around. Their droppings are prominently present in the middle of the trail. Yes, that is not dog poop! It is coyote poop. They mark their territory mainly by leaving droppings very visible on the trail. Coyotes are very active in the Spring. They mate in February and March and are much more visible in the Open Space during that time. The pups are born about 60 days later and are raised in a den. Both mom and dad raise the pups and hunt for food. Easy prey like rabbits and domesticated cats are very popular during that time. We lost two of our cats during that time right by our house! We have since then fenced our property and we hope to keep them out!
I personally have come to admire coyotes. Their ability to adjust in every environment is incredible. I have eagerly been waiting to see the pups rolling through the grass like a few years ago. The mom watching while the little ones were running around like crazy. They are the only species in Northern America that humans have tried to kill but that have increased in numbers since the first interaction. What a survivor!
Educate yourself. We are in their territory and we need to share it with them. Yelling or throwing a stone at them is one option but coyotes do not differ much from our domesticated canines. Meeting them on the trail may be part of your hiking adventure. Usually they are observing you. Curious. Especially if you are with dogs. Coyotes can kill dogs! They are easy prey for these excellent predators. The coyote trick is one of their most famous attempts to trigger a dog to come with them. They show playful behavior and trigger the dog to come with him/her. Once the dog follows the coyote will guide the dog to the rest of the pack. I probably don't have to explain the rest. That is why a dog needs to be on-leash at all times when rules and regulations require you to do so. Protect your dog! Especially if your dog's recall is poor!
One of the saddest stories is of a Ranger, who lost one of his Rottweilers to Coyotes. 130 pounds strong but not strong enough to withstand the coyote trick. He just stood and listened while his dog was being killed in the foothills of the Bay Area. There was nothing he could do!
For more info here is a great web site: