The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Yip Yip Yip -- a Coyote!


This morning I woke up to the sound of coyotes yipping – and it did not sound like it was that far away.  Rosebud (our Australian Shepherd) sat up and peeped at me in the not-so-dark bedroom.  She seemed send me a telepathic message of "I'm not going out there!"  The only thing I could think about when I heard them, so close, was the little dog that lives across the street from us – outside – tied to a dog house.  I plan to make a point to talk to the owners.  We lived in California for a while – the coyotes out there would walk down the neighborhood streets.  They would take pets from yards in the blink of an eye.  I also saw a bobcat and a mountain lion while I lived out there – in Orange County – a highly populated area.  The mountain lion I spotted was sitting on a hillside, watching a park where kids were playing and my son's Little League baseball team was having a practice.  A few years ago I heard a news story about a woman attacked by a mountain lion and killed at a park where I would hike with my family and Cub Scouts.  The park was located behind the Ralph's grocery store where I shopped!  Wildlife is out there – everywhere – and you need to be on the lookout.


I am not one of these people that move to a more rural area – or even suburban these days – and wish to banish all the wildlife that poses a threat.  When you move to an area – you need to understand – the wildlife was there first.  It is not just the plants and trees that make an area what it is – it is the life that is there.  I toss out old salad stuff and apples to the rabbits that live in the woods behind my house.  The same rabbits that I watched eat my liriope and Indian Hawthorn one winter.  We bought netting to cover the new shrubs to try to save them.  The rabbits then leaned onto the netting to get to the leaves!  So we bo ught rabbit pellets at the local feed store – that helped a little – but I think they preferred the plants to the pellets.  The next summer – the netting we bought to keep the rabbits out of the bushes caught a snake on the patio.  One day when I was checking the chemicals in the hot tub – and I was walking all around it – I spotted a snake tangled in netting – very close to my foot.  Actually I thought the snake was dead.  It had been very hot and I figured the snake had been tangled and without water so long it had died.  So I came into the house – left it where it was – to wait for my husband to get home from golf so he could deal with it.  When he got home I took him to the patio to show him and the snake had moved and then it continued to move.  Most people would have not tried to save the snake.  But my husband did.  He spent most of the afternoon cutting the snake loose from the huge tangled mess that it was.  As he got closer and closer to the head – I got more and more nervous.  How to cut the head free without having that thing bite his hand?  When there was not much besides the tangle at the head left I convinced him to wait while I called animal control.  Thank goodness they are close – and were not busy.  The animal control officer was able to come over to help.  She had a clamp-arm-kind-of-thing t hat she held the snake's head with while my husband finished clipping the last bits of the netting from around the neck (does a snake have a neck??).  As soon as the snake was free it made for my pond!  Before it could get to the pond the animal control officer grabbed it with the clamp and walked it down to the woods – away from my pond and backyard area.  I knew it would come back at some time – so when I am out in the backyard – I am always on the lookout for it.  Are you ever in the yard and smell that cucumber scent?  That smell always makes me think a snake is nearby.   A couple weeks ago I saw a large snake that looked very familiar in the yard.  I wondered if it was the same one. 


A couple years after we moved here – and my husband was out of town – I was walking through the house at about 11 p.m. turning off lights and getting ready for bed.  The kids had already gone to bed hours before this.  As I approached the kitchen I saw one of my daughter's rubber snakes lying in the floor in front of the refrigerator.  (She always had a snake around – and when we visited museums or zoos she always had to get a new snake as a souvenir)  I walked toward the snake and then I realized the head was up off of the floor.  None of her snakes were like that.  Then it flicked its tongue!  I reached for the phone to call a neig hbor who lived across the street.  Thank goodness they were up.  She sent her husband over to help me out.  While I was on the phone with her I watched the snake slide behind the basket I have beside the refrigerator.  When my neighbor arrived he asked me where was the snake and my broom and dustpan.  I handed the broom and dustpan to him and then I cautiously moved the basket.  I kept hoping the snake would not go under or behind the refrigerator.  It did not.  He swept the snake into the dustpan and headed for the front door – I ran ahead and opened it for him.  He tossed the snake out into the yard.  I thanked him – and then he walked, barefoot, down through the yard where he had tossed the snake minutes before. 


Living where I do there are times when I have to deal with nature.  (Don't ask about the time the mouse had babies in the basement.  Our wonderful cat brought a couple upstairs to "play" with – she even let one loose under the Christmas tree!)  I would not want to kill off everything around me that caused a problem for me at some time.  The plants and animals make this place what it is.  A few days ago I was driving to the grocery store – I had to stop to let three turkeys cross the road (sometimes I have to stop while the deer cross in front of me).  As I drove on down the road a little farther, I saw a box turtle almost at the edge.  If the turtle had been just beginning its crossing of the road – I would have stopped and help it along.  I hate to see them hit by a car.  The lizards that sneak into the house, the rabbits that eat my plants, or the swallows that build those muddy nests under my deck and make a mess on the patio – they all have a place and a purpose.  The coyotes have a place and a purpose as well – they do help balance the wildlife in an area.  Coyotes have a great knack to adapt to new surroundings.  The geographic range for the coyote spans the entire North American continent from Alaska down to Central America.  They are here and people need to deal with them.  For the most part, they are shy and timid.  If you suspect coyotes in your area – do not allow pets to roam free.  Take your pets in at night since this is the time of day that coyotes hunt.  If the pet has to remain outside – keep it inside of a fence.  Don't leave pet food out all the time. 


Now photo news – I have added a page to my website showing a few of the photos I took at Oakland last weekend.  One of the club members let me know that I have some ribbons on my photos at the Georgia National Fair – I don't have details yet on what placed what.  Later this week I will be meeting with someone at the National Archives to discuss the possibility of me doing a workshop or two for them.  How cool is that?


And – personally – we are about to begin a LARGE renovation project at our home – it involves two floors and many rooms and – well – I think I need to buy that large economy-size bottle of Tylenol!  Wish us luck!

1 comment:

Patriot Lady MA said...

Great website with lots of practical information and knowlege!!! I stumbled upon it via a google search for coyote yips. A coyote visited my dog a few nights ago. We live on the 2nd floor and I'd let my dog out on a long rope to do his business for about ten minutes. When I went to get him, he was standing at the top of the outside stairs looking down towards the bottom. It was pitch black and I couldn't see a thing. I told him to come on and as he turned to come to me, I heard a coyote very close to the stairs give one bark and then two yips. It sounded close, like it was at the bottom step! I wondered if it was calling another coyote to come and help him "get the dog" or if he barked/yipped in frustration because my dog couldn't now be "gotten". At any rate, I now stand outside with my dog when I send him out to do his business!

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