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Close Encounter of the Coyote Kind


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Oh geez.  Just took the dogs out for a quick nighttime potty in our complex.  I took Agis and Neb down the elevators (Neb struggles with stairs; he's 13.5ish) and Toby went down the stairs with Xerxes (who does not excel at the lobby).  Got out - where are Toby and Xerxes?  Cross the median over onto the grassy area near a path behind some cars.  

Then I hear Toby and a friend who has a toy poodle...'Watch out for the coyote, right in front of you!' Uhh, where?  Seconds later, ~4 metres away is a coyote who looked around Agis’s height (perhaps not as muscular but Agis is over 50lbs, this was a good sized coyote).  Coyote trots by unphased.  I considered seeing if Agis would react, but I also have old man Neb all elderly and I don't know how habituated the damned thing is.  It passes by, I walk over to Toby, Xerxes, and our friend Sue with TinTin.  A cyclist who had warned Sue it was behind her and TinTin came by and said, I've got a toy dog too, and I've seen this one around, it's bold.  He rode around and said it was gone, but Sue still cut TinTin's nighttime outdoor time short.  

I've seen coyotes walking down the street by the building, and crossing into yards out on runs, but that coyote was close.  I still have some adrenaline from it being so near.  

Xerxes the Attack Beagle did have a grand old time following the coyote's scent around the complex lawns.  

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Geez indeed.  The first (and only) time I had to think about coyotes was when living with my American ex-husband in a trailer on a farm in Arizona.  My first real experience of the USA, and there we were, in the frigging dead of winter, and the issue of looking out for coyotes came up.  I'd obviously heard of them before, but they're not a "thing" in my home part of the world, although we do have something similar in terms of smaller wild dogs.  Just added to the general (lack of) of joy of the whole situation.

But I had no idea that they were so bold as to go into highly populated areas - I just asked Google, and apparently yes, they like eating dogs and small furry creatures!  I think I would have turned and run screaming in the opposite direction, which from what you say would be precisely the Wrong Thing to do.  I hope you got to sleep after that!

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Yeah.  Toby's sister lives in a bedroom community and had a cat killed by a coyote right in front of them (Toby is not a fan of letting cats out, for a variety of reasons, and when she told him the cat died 'peacefully' he was struck dumb with rage).  They are bold here in Toronto too.  Lots of pets being killed, the population of coyotes is pretty high right now.  I live next to Toronto's biggest park (that's entirely within city boundaries) and they live in there and range outside of it. 

That does not sound like fun with your ex-husband though!  (For a variety of reasons)  

I think coyotes range from 40-60lbs, I'd say this one was on the higher end of that range?  

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I'm in a midwestern suburb of the USA and the coyotes roaming in the neighborhood seem to get more big and brazen every year. A couple times they've made us stop in broad daylight so they can cross the road in front of our car with no fear and they don't look mangey and hungry whatsoever. They look well-fed (I assume from dining on all the small dogs in the various neighborhoods as evidenced by the numerous missing dog posters that are always changing on the light poles, plus the outdoor cat population--can't believe people still let their cats outdoors these days in our area btw). I think the coyotes feed on the deer population too. I guess I'm not one to talk because about 20 years ago or so we lost a cat (we assume to coyotes) because for a time we used to let our two cats out during the day. After one cat disappeared, we stopped that practice and learned about the growing coyote population. I guess it could be worse. At least we don't have bears and mountain lions roaming the neighborhood.

Part of the missing dog issue in my area may also be a byproduct of the pandemic. A lot of people have adopted cats and dogs from animal shelters (the vet hospital I use is a bit overwhelmed actually and sent out a newsletter about it because you have to make non-emergency appts pretty far in advance now due to all the new pets). So all the people adopting dogs (and cats) during the pandemic I guess is a good thing. But I think perhaps some of them are not used to being dog owners because I've never seen as many missing dog posters (and missing dog posts on nextdoor) as I have over the past year or so. I understand a dog escaping the yard or getting off-leash or getting picked off by a coyote while being left unsupervised in the yard every so often but it seems like there's an unusually high number of missing dogs these days. So I have a theory that it's partly explained by inexperienced/new dog owners created by the pandemic spike in dog adoptions, but it's just a theory...

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Yeah Toby's sister still lets her cats out - that was the context of the conversation when he was so angry.  

But they're bold and well fed here too.  They're good an expanding into urban and suburban areas.  There's more and more people upset here.

Which, I dunno - we're expanding into their ecosystem.

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I encountered a coyote while walking my dog at night and I am in a completely urban area, largest city in the state, I can see the downtown skyline from my house.  It wasn't the least bit scared of me nor my german shepherd and even turned and stepped towards us.  I was petrified - I have a big dog but I'm thinking "wild animal vs pampered house pet."  It didn't follow us, but after that I started carrying my mace when I walked the dog.   I've seen plenty of reports of coyotes in the area since then, they are definitely around.  There were actually black bears spotted in some suburbs around here not long ago, that would be scarier than the coyote.  But things are different, growing up the only wildlife I saw were squirrels and bunnies.  We'll have to figure out how to coexist (the cat only goes into my fully fenced yard).  At least I've learned to coexist with the wild turkeys that roam the neighborhood.  The females will fly away (so funny to see a turkey fly) when I walk by with the shepherds, but the big males just puff up and give us a challenging stare. At my workplace there was a big male turkey that guards the parking lot, you had to pass him to get in and if he didn't like the looks of you, he'd peck your tires.  

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On 8/27/2021 at 9:18 PM, Complicated toad said:

I encountered a coyote while walking my dog at night and I am in a completely urban area, largest city in the state, I can see the downtown skyline from my house.  It wasn't the least bit scared of me nor my german shepherd and even turned and stepped towards us.  I was petrified - I have a big dog but I'm thinking "wild animal vs pampered house pet."  It didn't follow us, but after that I started carrying my mace when I walked the dog.   I've seen plenty of reports of coyotes in the area since then, they are definitely around.  There were actually black bears spotted in some suburbs around here not long ago, that would be scarier than the coyote.  But things are different, growing up the only wildlife I saw were squirrels and bunnies.  We'll have to figure out how to coexist (the cat only goes into my fully fenced yard).  At least I've learned to coexist with the wild turkeys that roam the neighborhood.  The females will fly away (so funny to see a turkey fly) when I walk by with the shepherds, but the big males just puff up and give us a challenging stare. At my workplace there was a big male turkey that guards the parking lot, you had to pass him to get in and if he didn't like the looks of you, he'd peck your tires.  

Same sort of thing with my area @Complicated toad.  Agis is a Rottie mix and the coyote didn't even blink.  I did think about seeing if he would run the coyote off, but with it so habituated to people I didn't want it to engage.

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Agree @jarn  I also figure the coyote is used to hunting and taking down animals as part of its regular lifestyle.  Bella, on the other hand,  prefers that we cut larger pieces of meat into bite-sized pieces for her.  She's gotten into a scuffle or two in the dog park but overall, who's going to have the better instincts in a fight?  Probably not the one that spends a good part of her day lounging on the couch.  She chased off a fox once, but they are much smaller.  And we encountered it late in the evening in the dog park so I think she was just hoping it would play with her.

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On 8/26/2021 at 7:17 AM, jarn said:

I think coyotes range from 40-60lbs, I'd say this one was on the higher end of that range?  

Male coyotes range from 18-44lbs. Coyote/dog hybrids, or coydogs, on the other hand, can top out at anywhere from 60 to 120lbs. If the animal you encountered was bigger than 40 or so pounds, you were probably looking at a coydog.

Animals that live on the interface with human environments sooner or later become habituated and less timid toward humans, but that doesn’t make them any less wild. Here in godforsaken rural Kentucky where I live, coyotes have been a relatively recent arrival, and I only occasionally see one break cover of the woods to cross a road at dusk. You would hardly know they’re here, except once in s while, on a clear, still night, a chorus of eerie, melodic howls, barks and yips will suddenly begin from a pack of them not far off out in the fields, and their song will build and swell and rise in voices both haunting and piercing - and then abruptly fade into the night as though they were never there.

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@Cerberus Thinking about it, I'm guessing it was 40ish lbs (despite what I said) because it and Agis (Rottie mix, high 40 - low 50lbs) were similar heights but it was far more slender (Agis isn't fat, he's very muscular).  There's not a lot of coydogs around here to my knowledge - I think that's more common in rural areas, same with coywolves.  

The coyotes around here are extremely habituated.  I've seen them in daylight at busy intersections just chilling.  It's why I didn't want to interact with this one.  Wild and habituated makes a bad combination to me.  

@Complicated toad I just didn't want there to be a fight.  Barking and scaring it off, fine - but what if it took that as a challenge, given it was extremely unbothered by 4 people and 4 dogs.  Just wasn't worth it to me.

 

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I grew up in rural Southern Wisconsin. At the time, there were no coyotes and no wild turkeys in the area. Now you damn near have to elbow the blamed things out of the way to get down the road. There are no stray cats anymore. That may also be partially attributable to all the family dairy farms having gone. Where there’re milk cows, there are cats.

Now I live smack in the middle of a major metro area, and there are wild turkeys making asses of themselves all over the place. Mary Mother of are you fucking with me, they do not think things through. My husband sent me a video of one that was across the street from his work, picking dead bugs off of a license plate. For a while there were two or three hanging out in front of our friend’s apartment building, menacing people and dogs who tried to come and go. (For all I know they’re still there. She moved.) They cause traffic jams, because they park their idiot asses in the middle of residential streets and think about their lives, and no one knows how to drive them off. (Hint: Large ice scraper and purposeful movements.)

Husband says I am not to shoot them, even if they are made of turkey, and therefore edible, if gamey. I’m not allowed to trap rabbits, either, although Agnes can eat as many as she wants. 

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At the park I worked at, wild turkeys were like the park chickens. Constantly sauntering around the administrative area. From time to time I would glance out my office window and there would be some gobbler moseying on by, so close I could have beaned him with a wad of paper. I made a habit of walking around the grounds of a morning during their season, collecting cast-off feathers. I have tins full of them, nearly enough to make another turkey.

They weren’t so tame that you could walk right up to them, though - this was still in a National Park, not the middle of a city, and they were still at least nominally wild. If you approached, they would raise and bob their heads, as if to say, We used to be velociraptors, you know. Just saying.

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9 hours ago, Cerberus said:

At the park I worked at, wild turkeys were like the park chickens. Constantly sauntering around the administrative area. From time to time I would glance out my office window and there would be some gobbler moseying on by, so close I could have beaned him with a wad of paper. I made a habit of walking around the grounds of a morning during their season, collecting cast-off feathers. I have tins full of them, nearly enough to make another turkey.

They weren’t so tame that you could walk right up to them, though - this was still in a National Park, not the middle of a city, and they were still at least nominally wild. If you approached, they would raise and bob their heads, as if to say, We used to be velociraptors, you know. Just saying.

Haha!  

(Makes me think of the time an emu pecked Neb's nose at the local zoo.  Poor guy.  Emu must've been used to people, but he was like 'I'll get you dog!')

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19 minutes ago, jarn said:

Haha!  

(Makes me think of the time an emu pecked Neb's nose at the local zoo.  Poor guy.  Emu must've been used to people, but he was like 'I'll get you dog!')

Which in turn reminds me of a childhood trip to the zoo with one of my cousins, who at the petting zoo picked up what was probably an emu feather off the ground and used it to tickle the nose of a nearby llama.

What happened next? What do you think happened next?

Ka-choom!

The llama sneezed a coating of green mucus all over her pretty blond face.

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer psychopath.

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Llamas are funny too.  My child and I were at the local zoo where there was a free-roaming llama exhibit and there was a sudden downpour.  We ran under a bridge to stay dry and all the llamas came piling in after us so we were completely surrounded.  Thank goodness no one sneezed.    Below is a photo of one of our rain-shelter friends.

And even if they are a nuisance, the turkeys still crack me up.  I enjoy watching a baffled driver trying to get around them when they walk halfway across the street and then stop.  People honk and get out and wave their arms and holler and the turkeys could care less.  My dad met me at work one day to pick up my daughter and as he drove in, he rolled down the window and said "hey how you doing" to the big male and the turkey actually turned around and gobbled back at him.  The only thing that would dampen my opinion is if they all piled in my yard, I drove past a yard that had 20-30 of the things in it, they were sitting on railings and steps and the whole yard was covered in turkeys.  I can't imagine the mess they must have left behind.

image.thumb.png.7ef1c3cb1edd298ca8329246aa03bc87.png

 

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There are llamas at the same zoo as the emu near us - I'm also waiting for them to spit our way (I am guessing most llamas aren't huge dog fans, at least, based on their expressions - I keep the boys moving).  

I love the turkey stories!

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I live in the middle of a big city and we have raccoons and coyotes. Raccoons can claim your yard as territory and will defend it. I read a piece on how to scare off s coyote if it approaches you but I’m skeptical. I don’t trust wild animals at all. Of course we also have squirrels, but my dogs chase and sometimes catch and kill them so I wonder how they’d react to a raccoon or coyote?  There are a few possums as well but I think they’re harmless?  No turkeys however, never heard of that. 

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