Coyote Lonesome

In broad daylight, this elder of the Coyote tribe showed him/herself to us as Atina and I were wandering in the desert near Tucson, AZ.  

I had just dragged Atina away from 

1) a pair of enormous jackrabbits–they were bigger than a Shi-tzu, with long long legs

2) piles and piles of horse shit in varying stages of decomposition, tossed over the horse corral fence.

As we were walking in the opposite direction from these distractions, I felt Atina go rigid on her end of the leash.  Miffed, I thought it was more jackrabbit or horse shit and turned around to yell at her, when I saw that she was standing stock-still staring at something.  I followed her gaze….it was a big red coyote, standing stock-still staring at us!

It was huge, like the jackrabbits were huge…maybe there’s a connection there?  I’ve been running across coyote shit that’s much larger caliber than usual, and mostly made up of rabbit hair.  

Anyway, this coyote was easily as big as my 75 lb dog.  Maybe it was a wolf!  I’ll have to ask a ranger next time I spot one.

The putative coyote stood there for long minutes checking us out.  It was so close I could see individual hairs.  I wished we could go and talk to it…but two different kinds of canines, one of them wild…so I talked to it from a distance.  It looked at me with mild curiosity and eventually turned and trotted off in the direction of the rabbit warren that Atina had discovered in a thicket of mesquite trees.

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  1. glad it scuttled away and you guys were unharmed!

    • I don’t think there was ever any danger. Wild critters just want to be wild! I do love it when their curiosity overcomes their drive for survival for a few minutes so that I get to observe them. It’s thrilling to see a wild creature up close and personal! I’ve run into bear, moose, elk, and other coyotes. I was stalked by a cougar once! That was the only actually scary encounter. I don’t trust cats, rightly or wrongly. I know for sure that a moose or an elk is far more dangerous than a wild dog or cat.

  2. Is Atina always that skinny? Does she like potato chips? πŸ™‚

    • She’s actually a bit over her fighting weight. She’s just very photogenic 🐩

      She LOVES potato chips and will fight ME for them! And I’m waaaay over my fighting weight….so guess who wins🐢

  3. Very cool, Laura.

  4. What adventure, Atina is beautiful Laura!!!

  5. Nancy Williams

     /  January 14, 2017

    Hi Laura, I had that same experience in NM. The coyote was big and wasn’t afraid. I just saw a Nature show about coywolves. They are the fastest reproducing mammal in North America now. They originate from the Northern Gray Wolf and the Eastern Coyote, or so says the show. So, I think my coyote was a coywolf.

    • That’s fascinating! I was just reading about Southwestern coyotes and it said the only threat to their survival is hybridization. I knew about coydogs, but hadn’t thought about coywolves! I swear my coyote was thinking about whether it would be safe to come and check us out–or check Atina out, anyway. She wasn’t a bit afraid, as you can see by her alert, interested posture.

      The coyotes we had in North Carolina were multiplying faster than the deer. Cats seem to make up a large part of their diet these days! Now you’ve got me wondering. The NC coyotes’ call seems more wolflike than the ones here in the Sonoran Desert, who have the typical vocabulary of assorted yips and howls.

  6. Atina is gorgeous.

  7. what a beautiful moment to have been part of.


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