Friday, March 8, 2019

Is it all right that I like coyotes?

Coyotes seem to be universally despised. Despite two centuries of persecution they survive, even thrive, alongside humans. Pretty impressive that. In fact, the more you kill, the larger their litters become. At the same time, persecution breaks up their packs into small family units, helping them evade their enemies.

They are opportunistic. They primarily eat rodents, insects, rabbits, fruit, berries. But they will eat cats, small dogs, and livestock on occasion. That doesn't win them any friends. More and more they are moving into cities where no one shoots, traps, or poisons them. Here they eat rats and human garbage, which they find in plenty.

Coyote. Ramona, California. January 21, 2019.
It is extremely rare for a coyote to attack a human, though it happens more frequently as the "urban coyote" population increases. Dogs on the other hand? They bite 4.7 million people each year in the United States (Dog Bite Statistics). And dogs kill other dogs, cats, and livestock too. Yet one we love, the other we despise.

I see coyotes fairly frequently. I've seen luxuriously-furred animals hunting voles in the snow in Oregon. I've seen mangy-looking skinny animals hunting lizards in the desert. I hear them howling out the window when I wake up at night, even in residential areas. I see them sitting on the hillside like a small German Shepherd, soaking up the warming rays of morning sun.

But mostly, I see them hunting mice in fields, as this one pictured above. They keep a respectful distance, but aren't overly wary. They get no animosity from me.


  1. We also like them. We frequently see or hear them in the wash near our home in Tucson, or hunting rabbits on the golf courses. We treat them with respect knowing they were here long before we were.

  2. Count us firmly in the pro-coyote camp! My favorite coyote experience was watching one lazily roam a sunny hillside before lying down to take in the weather. Hearing packs howl at night is also a treat.


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