Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wile E.

Last evening, Ken and I were sitting here in the dining room. I got up to get something, and glanced out the window. I saw something trotting across the back yard, by the far pond. I took a closer look and said, "OOO! Honey...HONEY! LOOK!" Ken looked and said, "Oh wow!" I said, "Do you see him? Do you see him?" (I was a little excited.) Ken said, "Yeah!"
It was our coyote! A few years ago, I had caught a glimpse of one out in the marsh, but didn't get a good look at him. Not too long ago, we heard one howling one night. But this time we both got a perfect view for about 30 seconds, as he sort of trotted along, sniffed at the ground, then took off down the path through the marsh. He didn't stick around long enough for me to get a picture, though. There was no mistaking him for a dog...he had that bushy tail, held down at about a 45° angle. Ken said, "He looked pretty healthy, too!" I was so glad Ken got to see him, too.
No, we're not going to try to shoot him or hunt him. And yes, when mowing the pathway, Ken has found the remains of a fawn. We look at it as all a part of our little ecosystem here at Nutwood. Deer populations have exploded because of the lack of natural predators, but we actually have one here, and that's a good thing. (I don't ever want to see one take down a fawn, but I know it can happen.) I was doing a little reading about coyotes this morning, and they're also great at keeping down the rodent population, so our coyote friend is welcome to stick around. Here's a little bit about them.
The Latin name is Canis latrans, which means "barking dog." It is native to western North America, but with the absence of natural predators such as wolves and mountain lions, coyotes have moved into all states except Hawaii, including into urban areas. Thousands are killed each year, but their population has increased.
Adults grow to an average of 35 inches (89 cm) with a 14 (36 cm) inch tail; they stand about 21 inches (53 cm) at the shoulder and weigh about 30 lbs (14 kg). Coyotes live in pairs, and both parents care for the young. They hunt alone or in pairs, and rarely, in small groups when going after larger prey. These bands are loosely aligned, and don't have the strict hierarchy of wolf packs. They are mostly nocturnal, but are sometimes seen during the day. (We saw ours around 7 PM or so, when it was still light.) They can maintain a speed of 35 mph (56 km) when chasing prey.
Coyotes are omnivorous, consuming a variety of small animals; they also eat plant matter, carrion, and garbage. They can dig their own burrows, but usually take over the burrows of woodchucks or badgers. They also make their dens in roots of trees or rock crevices. Their territorial range can be as much as 12 miles (19 km) in diameter around the den and they travel along fixed trails. (We see all kinds of animal trails out in the woods...we always thought they were made by the deer!) They have been known to live a maximum of 10 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity.

So there you have it! Interesting critters, and kind of fun to have one. Sheeba says, "I'm glad I'm an indoor kitty!" Right you are, Sheeba. I don't think you'd want to encounter one of these guys!

Since Ken put up a cartoon about Pepé Le Pew when writing about skunks, I suppose you know what's coming, don't you? Suuuuupergenius! I'm not sure what it says about me that these still make me laugh out loud...young at heart, maybe? 




marainey1 said...

Nature is astounding.  There is a reason for each and every animal it seems.  Our neighborhood skunk was making itself known by the smell outside this morning.
'On Ya'-ma

lisawesmalayna said...

That sounds like a welcomed moment, they are beautiful animals. I once had a dod named Smokey, who was a small amount German shepard,and the rest was wolf, and coyote. He was so smart, and talented, he could catch a frisbee higher than any other dog. You also reminded me of the countless hours I used to sit and listen to howls at night in the state park I grew up at. There were abundant amounts of wildlife, and the coyote was one of them I loved. I will dig out a poem and share it with you sometime. Have a wonderful day!



geocachelinda66 said...

I love wildlife of all sorts and am fond of coyotes too.  I get a thrill when I hear them yipping in the woods at night and then catch a glimpse of one too!  Linda

easteeleco said...

Out in Sun City where Paul's parents live, we get to see quite a variety of wildlife.. if one gets up early enough in the morning.. Coyotes, rabbits and quails are the most common, although.. he he he.. not all at the same time. :)  Estela

bojgill4375 said...

My neighbor said she saw a pack of them in the field next to her. A lot of trees for them to hide. I hear them all the time, but do not see them often. Yes, they will eat a cat. Their nature. The cartoon is too cute. My husband likes this one. lol Have a good day and thanks for sharing. Janie

shrbrisc said...

I am so happy to hear you are not going to hunt it down , we believe the same way though the deer are getting in with goats now lol we will be having some doats before long I am sure they come in at night and I see them jumping the fence before sun up , we have special fences and pens for our domestic animals but the wild ones always find a way .. the funny thing is the stock dog doesn't bother the deer he only runs off the predators so far..

lv2trnscrb said...

here in Southern California, they are everywhere, in the city, in neighborhoods, etc. Koda scared one, one night, where we used to live just right out in the middle of our cul-de-sac; I had to be careful where I walked with him, if it was too close to the canyons, I risked seeing one just walking along on a major street; here there are frequent warnings to watch out for little animals and children when one is spotted too close to a park

stay safe :)


lurkynat said...

beautiful entry
they are too smart for most humans and animals
they can attack with the speed of light and without a sounds
oh and not leave much of a trace

gen0507 said...

You have the life...with all the wildlife around!  I wish I could have seen him too....


oddb0dkins said...

Hooooooooow interesting. ;O)

B. x

jimsulliv3 said...

Coyotes have always interested me and I know everyone has to eat to survive, but, like you, I'd rather not see the kill.


queeniemart said...

they have sighted coyotes in my city and you always get a bit sad that they may end up hurt with the traffic and such. I hope you are able to get a pic of him/her someday. XO

buckoclown said...

It was very cool to see Wile E.  I think he has become a member of our local "circle of life" :o)

krmprm said...

I still laugh at the cartoons, too.  Thanks,  I needed
that laugh.  
   All the critters have a place in the food chain.

Sounds like you have an eco-friendly neighborhood. l
think I hear something now.                  Beep-beep!

sybilsybil45 said...

Goodness, not sure that I would like to meet that big fella one dark night.  Thankfully we don't have such creatures aroudn here. The biggest thing we see fairly often is foxes...and of course we have a lot of deer aroudn as we have lots of lovley woods all around Box.   Thanks for showing me a photo's of them big critters !!!    LOve  sybil xx

solace223 said...

I can't wait to move back into the country and see some wildlife.  (I can see the bypass from my backdoor in the fall, no leaves on the trees)  I even have your neck of the woods alerted on Cressy if anything comes up that is in our price range with land.  I would just like to be able to sit outside and hear crickets, not car motors!  Hope your oppossum steers clear of Wile E.

mpnaz58 said...

Coyotes are all over the place...I'll be driving down the street and one will cross the path, and mosey into the desert.  I know they're there all the time, but they're not always visible.  They're mangy critters.  We don't have dogs but when the next door neighbor dogs bark, I can look out and it'll usually be a coyote...or javelina.  I did see a bobcat a couple of weeks ago, not in our yard, but up the street.  I love these natural beasts...
xoxo ~Myra

chat2missie said...

We don't have Coyotes here in PA, but I would love to see one in it's natural envirnment.  Not a  zoo.  

fowfies said...

If you need more coyote, just come on over. You may have an overabundance of deer, but we have an overabundance of coyote around here! They have made meal after meal of my chickens. Harrassed livestock all over the area. As long as they stay out from my chickens, we are cool. Everybody loves an easy meal though, so I am always looking out. I know if I didnt have chickens, seeing one crossing the pasture might be a pretty sight, but for me, its a scary sight. Glad he seemed healthy though. You know that fox Ian shot that morning under the steps at our house after it had killed and killed was in BAD shape. Mange, fleas, ticks, terrible looking. I am rambling this Have a good day today. Hugs, Kelly

wwfbison said...

There have been sightings of one or two in our area, maybe the same one, who knows.  They are beautiful when they are in good health.  I wouldn't shoot him either and I am happy to hear you have no intentions of shooting him.   I received a very disturbing video of Palin on one of her  arial wolf hunts.  How cruel.  

preciousone25 said...

We're getting coyotes in our area now, too!!  I think it's really cool, but still kinda scary.... just not used to them yet, I guess.