Poor Joey - that was the name I had given him. I asked that he be disposed of before our dog Marley went out...or she'd take care of him herself.
"Take a shovel and throw him over the edge," I said, matter-of-fact (this is the country, and these things happen after-all)..."I don't want Marley getting into that!"
How did it happen? Where did he come from?
He was quiet, stealth...it was a surprise attack....the witness said he'd never seen anything like that before.
"He jumped out of the bushes and in two leaps he grabbed the poor thing and shook him so violently!" Then is was over.
But he must have gotten spooked because he looked up and bolted down the hill towards the road...not realizing he was being watched from the living room window. The stealthy grey one with piercingly wild eyes was gone as quickly as he had appeared. .
"And you're sure it was a coyote, not a fox?" I asked.
"Oh no, it was DEFINITELY a coyote! You should have seen it! WOW! I've never seen THAT before!"
No, although we had never seen a coyote attack its prey in our backyard, it wasn't the first time one was so close to the house....just another day at Ridgeview, with Nature working exactly as it should. As sad as it was to see another dead rabbit (one had been hit by a car by the driveway earlier that day), and as disturbing as it was to have a coyote capture its prey so close to the house, it's all part of the life cycle, and part of living life IN Nature by conservation and farm property...and no surprise - the town issues coyote warnings every year.
As humans, I think that we forget how great and powerful Nature is, and that we're just a SPECK amongst its existence. We have to respect that it has its own laws, which far transcend anything that us humans like to make up as "law". Nature doesn't care - it just IS - and exists with or without us.
I for one am grateful to be OF Nature and IN Nature, to bear witness to Nature's power and glory - be it torrential thunderstorms, glorious sunrises and sunsets, visits from dragonflies and butterflies or any of the many species of wildlife in my own back yard....even COYOTES :)
|(Photo from: http://www.theifp.ca/news/town-reminds-residents-to-beware-of-coyotes/)|
PREVENTING AND MANAGING COYOTE ENCOUNTERS:
Coyotes are well-adapted well to both urban and rural environments.
If you encounter a coyote, keep your distance and do not approach it.
Do not turn your back and run from a wild animal - remain calm and back away; stand tall, wave your arms and make noise.
Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk and during the night...carry a flashlight at night and keep your property well lit (I know I will be installing more lights around the house this summer).
Install fencing around your yard (not practical on 5 acres of property, but I can make the yard less appealing to coyotes with other measures such as lighting and keeping the yard clean).
Coyotes will come in your yard looking for food, particularly rabbits and rodents. They are also opportunistic feeders, so keep your trash secure inside the garage or other structure where its enclosed and inaccessible.
Don't leave pets unattended, especially at night.
Clean up after your dog - coyotes are attracted to dog feces.
Spay and neuter your dog - coyotes are attracted to and can mate with domestic dogs.
Teach your children basic safety regarding wild animals (and even domestic ones for that matter).
Don't leave small children and babies unattended in your yard - there have been reports of coyotes dragging children off into the woods.
Most of all, use common sense when it comes to living with and IN Nature. Remember, animals was here before us, and they have just learned to adapt to us encroaching on their habitat - we should respect that and appreciate the full beauty of what Nature is. In so doing, we could learn to adapt to wildlife living around us, and create a harmonious environment for all of us.
For more information on living with coyotes, see the following links: