A Question of Coyotes (#370)

While coyote sightings are pretty common in Southern California, we didn’t see any in our neighborhood the first decade we lived here. Which seemed a little odd, because there’s a huge, undeveloped hillside that looms over the neighborhood.

We had plenty of outdoor cats and wildlife, though. Folks would leave cat food on their front porches for their outdoor cats. When I walked before sunrise, I often saw skunks trot down the sidewalk, turn up the walkway to a house, climb up the front porch, and help themselves to a bowl cat food.

Dog food thief

Andy and I once found a possum in our garage, inside a large bag of dog food. When we opened it, all the possum did was blink and continue eating.

We relocated the bag and the possum to our side yard and got a large plastic container for dog food the next day.

We also had hawks, falcons, owls, and plenty of small birds.

In semi-wild life, our neighborhood hosted a huge cat colony. Asshole humans would dump unwanted kittens at the park on the top of the hillside. The kittens would make their way down the hill to the house of an older woman who was a hoarder. She fed them, but ignored all her neighbors’ suggestions about contacting Fix Nation or any other TNR groups. The colony expanded exponentially. The Boomer neighbors complained about the overwhelming stench of cat pee. The bird population took a hit. The city refused to intervene.

Inevitably, a pair of coyotes discovered that our huge, grassy hillside was the perfect place to raise a family…and get take out from the surrounding suburbs.

The first time I saw them was probably on one of their early recon missions. At sunrise, I was walking down the hill with one of my dogs. Ahead of me, I spotted a loping canine that looked like a small German shepherd coming up the hill and thought, “Crap! A loose dog. How am I going to catch it—”

And then another, almost identical canine appeared behind it—with the exact same easy, but ground-eating, stride. They had no collars and giant ears.

I stopped immediately and told the dog to sit. He obeyed, and we watched the coyotes pass.

They never even looked at us.

Since then, I’ve seen the coyotes on the hill numerous times (my Instagram account is full of them). I never get tired of watching them hunt for gophers or lope in the brush. I enjoy hearing the young coyotes howling with the fire engine’s siren late at night, or yapping excitedly to let a returning parent know where they are. Those coyotes make our little part of Los Angeles wild and wonderful.

A lot of folks in SoCal fear the coyotes. Numerous motorists have stopped to warn me if they’ve passed a coyote. Which is kind, but also kind of ignorant. I’ve never had a dog under 75 lbs, and I am much bigger than my dogs. Every sane coyote (and we don’t have rabies in our area) gives us a wide berth because coyotes are not stupid.

Coyotes are usually less than forty pounds. Wild animals don’t have an ER; like other predators, they calculate the odds of injury in every single encounter. There is zero chance they’d try to take on two other, larger predators unless their den was being attacked. They generally stay away from humans, although my MAGA neighbors refuse to accept this. (And, yes, the coyote haters are inevitably MAGA.)

The MAGA cultists put up signs about “coyote attacks” in our neighborhood, but of course they don’t mention that the coyotes are attacking other animals and not humans. Arguments have raged at many SoCal city halls, with the MAGA crowd insisting on the right to kill coyotes. One city actually pays a ton of money to a problematic trapper who snares and kills them. When a third-grade class wrote letters protesting killing coyotes, MAGA supporters doxed and threatened the teacher. The school and teacher hired security.

And yet the psychotic MAGA meatheads insist that it’s the COYOTES who are the real danger to children.

“They could snatch a child right out of the street!” one neighbor insisted.

“If a toddler is in the middle of the street, especially in the middle of the night, a coyote is the least of their problems!” I retorted. While small children have been grabbed/ attacked by coyotes, that’s often on the idiot parent isn’t watching their child closely and has ignored warnings about coyotes in the area.

What the coyotes really want is a matchup with something much smaller: a rodent, a cat, or a small dog. Small dog owners have responded by buying coyote suits:

Story & Picture from The Atlantic

There are no suits for cats, however.

And there is no longer a semi-feral cat colony in our neighborhood.

But you don’t hear the MAGA Boomers thanking the coyotes for that.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

15 thoughts on “A Question of Coyotes (#370)”

  1. This has me howling with anger. Guess the MAGA cult doesn’t focus all their attention on mere liberal humans.

    We had coyotes in the PNW and I never feared crossing paths with one.

    1. Of course you didn’t. Because you aren’t an ignorant hater. I do my best to educate the neighbors on coyotes, but they love to hate, especially nature. They hate trees that drop leaves and coyotes. But they love their jacked up trucks.

  2. I’ve had someone tell me that trees are dirty. Surprised I asked why they thought that. Well, they drop leaves and nuts or other fruits that have to be cleaned up. You know how they would feel about coyotes. I didn’t realize they were that small. There was one in our old neighborhood in my yard eyeing up my old cat Jake. I told him to fogetaboutit and he moved along. I do feel sorry for those cats that were dinner.

    1. I feel sorry for the cat colony, too. We have shelters and rescue groups, but dogs and cats get dumped all the time. It’s pretty heartbreaking. Just as it is when the trees get hacked down so my cop neighbor doesn’t have leaves landing on his car (eye roll).

  3. Nice match-ups, coyotes and too many semi-feral cats.

    We don’t have a huge, grassy hillside. We do have a couple of small creeks and several very small wooded areas. Just enough to attract coyotes now and then. Today my neighbor warned me about seeing my daughter’s cats outside since she saw a coyote yesterday. Some years ago that same daughter lost a cat to a coyote. Still she likes to allow them some freedom.

    I wonder why being MAGA corresponds to being afraid of coyotes, hating nature, and wanting to control every aspect their world.

    1. I think MAGA would respond with, “Freedom!” To them it basically means the freedom to do whatever they want, without consequences: no regulation (even when it would protect them), no one telling them they can’t have the biggest gun ever, and the ability to be racist and bigoted every other sentence without being called out for it.

  4. I was actually about to ask if the cat colony has disappeared. On another note, I don’t know if you listen to podcasts but there is a new New York Times series (only 6 episodes, so not a big commitment) called “Animal” that I think you might love!

    1. If there’s a transcript of a podcast, I might read it, but rarely do I listen because it’s so much faster to read. My friends who commute or work with their hands love podcasts and audio books, though. I’ll pass on your rec.

      My son and I used to pass the cat colony daily when we walked to his elementary school. He would pet the one friendly cat and every person who lived within half a block would beg us to take any/ all cats. The smell of cat pee was pretty horrible, but, like so many animals in LA County, those cats did not deserve a gruesome death.

  5. “If a toddler is in the middle of the street, especially in the middle of the night, a coyote is the least of their problems!” I laughed out loud at that line, which is the truth.

    Is that dog outfit for real? I mean it’s stylish in a way reminiscent of the London punk scene of the 70s & 80s, but it doesn’t look comfortable for the dog.

    1. Yep, real outfit! And you can own one of your own. They have a bunch on Amazon. I think folks are getting chihuahuas just so they can accessorize them in anti-coyote suits.

  6. We have coyotes around us and I have never thought of them as anything but part of the natural food chain. We fool with that at our peril.
    The coyote proof dog suit?

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