Last night…or maybe that was early this morning, a lone coyote literally yipped it’s call of success waking Scot and me. She sounded like she was only 50 feet away, she must have been in the lot across the street. It was an eerie sound and so classically Disney or Nature Channel that I listened well to each syllable. Had she captured a hapless rabbit, or a cat, or a small dog? Were other coyotes going to run to her to be fed and start a yipping frenzy that was sure to wake the girls? The sound remained solitary and she eventually stopped her call after what seemed an eternity and not until all other apparently outdoor dogs were roused from their slumber too and started with their alert calls up and down the hillside.
What do dogs think when they hear the coyote yip? Do they immediately become protective of their home and masters? Are they merely curious? Do even large dogs know the danger of wildlife in their backyard?
Our neighborhood is a well populated area on top of a ridge called a “mountain” not more than 2 1/2 miles from the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Once upon a time this was mostly unpopulated scrub, now it is a wondrous “banana belt” garden with various tastes of plants and of architecture, people, their families and their pets. The density of which is remarkably difficult to get used to if you come from a rural area–unless, of course, you are a coyote.
Coyotes have proven to be the most successful opportunistic canid in North America. It has prescriptions paxil been theorized, probably correctly, that the decimation of the native Wolf populations in North America from 1850 into the 1900s contributed to the ecological niche filled now with coyotes. They are smart, canny, and creative in finding a meal. Being omnivores, they will eat fruit and vegetables, insects and the unsuspecting small mammal–including outdoor cats and occasionally attacking small dogs while on leash. As a pack they will also attack and kill larger dogs.
Prevention of coyote attacks and pet safety is discussed in the next article, Call of the Wild: Coyotes Part 2.