I’m taking a stroll with a glass of wine at twilight and notice two of my dogs have wandered off; something apparently has caught their interest. So I call out their names and here come Kingston and Sawyer—with two young coyote right behind them, trotting in like they had accepted an invitation for a sleep over.
Me being the bad guy, I flap my arms and inform the coyote they are not welcome. One turned tail immediately while the other stopped in its tracks, as if waiting to see if King and Sawyer would change my mind. I don’t mean to be a profiling snob, I tell my dogs, but coyotes have a reputation. They are not playmates.
Coyote are predators, but not necessarily aggressive, to people, anyway. The last recorded attack in Washington happened two years ago in Kent when three coyotes ganged up on a man in his backyard (The ER treated him for scratches and he eventually received 24 rabies shots). The attack prompted Fish and Wildlife to advise homeowners to stow their trash and keep an eye on their children, small dogs and cats. The game wardens warned that coyote encounters are bound to happen more often as humans build homes where coyote hunt for their food.
Aha. Coyote eat fruit. I’m told in the winter they rely on the leftovers in the orchards. I figure the peaches and nectarines in my yard and the ripening apples in the surrounding orchards are bringing in the coyotes.
Adorable as they appeared, I did not change my mind about the slumber party, and after another shout, the two coyote disappeared into the sage brush, but they didn’t act like they were thoroughly dissuaded. I think they’ll be back. The apples are coming in, and my dogs like visitors.