Learn to Coexist/Love the Beautiful Songdog | Coyote Facts

I didn’t write this and I can’t find the author to cite, but here’s one of the best posts I’ve seen about coyotes that’s worth reading and sharing:

“We humans have a strange urge to create monsters. For many, it’s not enough to believe in predators that hunt prey. We have to also project strange, sinister, and even supernatural forces onto the creatures who share our planet.

Since the beginning of time, we’ve created and exaggerated stories of dragons that abduct maidens, giant eagles that grab children, the Big Bad Wolf who pretends to be a sheep or a grandmother. The most modern version of these myths involves none other than the coyote: a 25-pound omnivore often seen in the suburbs, where it eats a diet containing mostly rodents.

You’ve likely heard about how coyotes are vicious beasts who come up with complex, cunning plans to befriend innocent dogs. When the dog thinks it has made a friend— as the legend says— the coyote will lead it back to a den, where a large pack of vicious coyotes leap upon the dog and eat it.No matter how many times you’ve heard a version of this story, it’s not true.

Coyotes do not live or hunt in large packs.

A coyote family usually includes just one pair of adults and their young of the year. While the family does occasionally work together to hunt, they usually prefer to hunt alone, and they never hunt in the large groups of 10, 20, or 30 animals that many claim to have witnessed.

While coyotes are extremely intelligent animals, their minds don’t work like human minds. They don’t develop complex plans for the future, and they don’t have a theory of mind— the ability to conceptualize and predict another animal’s thoughts and perceptions— in the same way that humans do.

A coyote simply isn’t capable of “lying” to a dog by pretending to be its friend or developing a plan to lead it into a trap. Like many other myths, the story about the coyote luring a dog to its death probably started as a misunderstanding.

Coyotes and domestic dogs are very close relatives, so coyotes have been known to sometimes approach them socially. That can include the kind of bowing and tail-wagging that we all know means, “Be my friend!” in dog language.

When a family of coyotes is heard singing and yipping later, the same people who witnessed the coyotes approaching dogs might mistake them for a pack ready to hunt. Coyotes use rapidly rising and falling notes fo create an auditory illusion, which makes a pair or trio of coyotes sound like a large pack, so it’s easy to be intimidated by the sound.

But just because coyotes are singing doesn’t mean they’re killing a dog or making sinister plans: it just means they’re a family and they’re together.With all that said, coyotes are opportunists, and like any other predator, they will eat whatever prey is available if they’re hungry enough. A small dog, especially a toy breed, may be hunted by a coyote. This is one of many reasons that small dogs should not be left outside unattended, particularly at dawn and dusk. Although coyotes aren’t known to target larger dogs as prey, they will fight with a dog if provoked, and both the dog and coyote can be injured or killed. Responsible pet owners should always take steps to prevent these incidents.

Lying, deception, and complicated, evil plans are human traits, not coyote traits. There’s no need to project the flaws of our own species onto our wild neighbors or to assume the worst of a coyote’s friendly or confused behavior.

We need to understand and coexist with our wildlife, not to fear them.”

4 thoughts on “Learn to Coexist/Love the Beautiful Songdog | Coyote Facts

  1. Many times coyotes up in the Lagunas went on walks with me and my dogs. Here’s a little story (if this works) about my dog, Lupo, who lived with me from 1994 to 2004. He was bitten by a rattler in my back yard in Descanso. Once I knew what had happened to him, I called a friend who was living in Julian to come down and help me. Lupo was a big dog. Kris came right down and we went together to the vet in Alpine.

    “[Lupo] …had a pretty spectacular funeral.

    …I wrapped my arms around my beautiful friend, put his poor snake bitten head on my shoulder. The vet inserted the IV, and within seconds, Lupo was gone.

    [My friend] Kris and I took Lupo’s collar up to the Lagunas to put his tag on the [femce]post with [that of my other snake bit dog] Ariel.

    We hadn’t gone far on Sunset Trail when we noticed a coyote walking beside us a few feet to our left. She stayed with us until we were nearly at the post, and I began removing the tag. As I did, I noticed the brand on the collar: Coyote. A shiver went through me. I showed it to Kris. Just as I got the tag off the collar, the coyote crossed the trail about four feet in front of us. She paused to look at us then ran off across the hills, her tail erect like any joyful dog. I looked at Kris, he at me, and we both said, “She took Lupo with her!”

    That was Lupo’s funeral. He runs forever across those golden hillsides where he rambled so often with me.”

    If you wanted to read the whole post it’s here: https://marthakennedy.blog/2018/08/18/dogs-r-me/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen two or three coyotes hunting in a coordinated plan to flush and herd prey to a pack mate-but never more. We have plenty of predators after the small dogs- coyotes, foxes, eagles, and owls. It’s a pity the are so reviled; coyotes are gorgeous animals and good parents.

    Liked by 1 person

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