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The Unseen Coyote

            As the title of this blog post suggests, I have never seen the coyote rumored to live in the woods behind my building. The first I heard about the coyote was late one night, in the freezing cold, when Cricket and her Goldendoodle friend Kevin were having a battle in the yard, and Ellie was trying to sneak back to our front door, and Kevin’s Mom said, so, did you see the white coyote?

“The what?”

And my first thought was, nah, probably just a new cat, with long legs. Humans have vivid imaginations. We get a lot of stray cats visiting around here. There’s the brown and black striped cat, and the black cat with two white feet, both way too fast for Ellie to catch them, though she always tries. Sometimes we see raccoons and possums and voles, and of course we are inundated with brazen grey squirrels, and then there are the mourning doves, and wrens and starlings and cardinals and robins and blue jays, etc, etc. But a coyote, that’s new.

Not my picture

            I read an article that said urban or suburban coyotes rarely attack humans and can easily be scared away by hand waving and loud noises – which could explain why I’ve never seen the coyote; I’m always out there with Cricket, who makes a lot of noise, and Ellie, who runs like she’s ready to fly in three directions at once.

“Weeeeeeeeeee!”

            Also, coyotes are generally nocturnal and my dogs are easily spotted at night – being white and fluffy – so the coyote probably hides behind the huge downed tree at the edge of the yard and waits for us to go back inside before doing whatever it is that coyotes do.

            Supposedly, when I hear what sounds like a goose being strangled by a cat late at night, it’s actually the coyote. I don’t know if this is a single coyote or a mated one, out searching for a light meal for two. I guess we’ll find out in a few months. Coyotes mate in February (for Valentine’s Day?) and give birth in April.

Not my picture

            It’s possible that I did see the coyote once, actually because I saw what I thought was a really long-legged cat running up into the woods one night, and was surprised that Ellie didn’t try to chase it. Ellie seems to have given up on catching a squirrel, but she still believes she’ll be able to outrun a cat, one day.

“I can do it, Mommy!”

            I’ve made a point of holding onto Ellie’s leash after dark, ever since I heard about the coyote and was warned with horrific stories of pets being abducted never to be seen again (similar to the horror stories of small dogs being carried away by hawks), but given that some of my neighbors leave food out for the stray cats, and others leave food out for the birds, the coyote can probably live pretty well here without having to hunt for anything larger than a mouse.

            So, I guess we’re okay for now. And it gives us something to talk about when the dog walkers meet up in the yard at night. I wonder, though, if while the humans are sharing scary stories about the dangerous white coyote who stalks the woods, the dogs are rolling their eyes at each other and saying, oy, humans are so silly. Bob’s harmless.

“How did you know?”

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

            Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

63 responses »

  1. Yep. We have them around here, too. About a year ago, a neighbor took a picture of one that was sitting calmly in front of my house in the middle of the afternoon like it was waiting for a bus.

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  2. Seen or unseen, I’d keep a tight leash on the girls.

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  3. i love the ending—it made me smile🤗❤️

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  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had coyotes. They are everywhere. A white coyote like in the photo would be a sight. Coyotes eat small dogs. Youy long-legged cat might have been a bobcat.

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  5. We think coyotes are the reason so many of the neighborhood cats have disappeared. They seem to be everywhere, and very dangerous to smaller animals. And they do come out during the day, too. They’re the reason I keep thinking about getting a gun…

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  6. I know that coyotes and domestic dogs can mate and have offspring, as can dingoes here with domestic dogs. I wonder what a mating between a dingo and a coyote would produce. Hopefully a creature able to outwit even the cartoon road runner!

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  7. We have coyotes here. They are brazen and come out often at sundown or early morning as well as at night. They go after small dogs and cats all the time. Make sure to keep your fur babies on a leash.

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  8. Makes you wonder what a computer print out of Ellie’s nose readings would say on the matter.

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  9. The coyotes around here are very bold, coming right into yards and taking advantage of any unleashed pets. Keep watch over your little ones Rachel. Stay well. Allan

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  10. When I moved here everyone kept talking about the coyotes and it took a year or so before I finally saw one. Now I see them all of the time and think they are beautiful. They are not wolves and won’t attack you or your dog if it’s on a leash, unless it is a long leash, so keep it short. If they are cornered, if they are injured or if you come upon a lair with babies are the only reasons they’ll attack. The ASPCA has a great webpage about urban coyotes. They aren’t going anywhere…I have numerous pictures of our neighborhood coyotes. I do hope you get to see one. Pause a second to appreciate it, then yell and make noise at it!

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  11. They are moving in closer to towns all the time. Losing their fear of humans makes them more dangerous, so be careful out there.

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  12. More and more they are taking up residence near humans. They will prey on small dogs and cats, so be careful.

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  13. We have a pretty large pack that live near us. We get to hear them in the evenings. I know they can be dangerous, but I do love their songs.

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  14. I’ve read that there’s at least one coyote in every square mile in America. Hang on to those leashes.

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  15. The only thing we have to worry about are wild boars

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  16. We have an abundance of coyotes in Nebraska, but they aren’t very bold. They don’t howl like the cliched coyotes in cowboy movies though. They very rarely appear in my town because farming has greatly intruded upon their territory. That said, I have only seen two coyotes in the wild.

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  17. We lived in Arizona for a year, and the neighborhood was open so wildlife could co-exist. It was beautiful. And of course there were coyotes. My daughters and I tried mimicking their calls to each other, and one night we got a response back. It was probably a young one who later got in trouble for not being able to distinguish real calls from fake.

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  18. Living a mere 3 miles from the center of downtown Denver, There are frequent coyote sightings in the neighborhood but I’ve only seen flashes of them during daylight hours trotting in the opposite direction. Having large dogs who could probably defend themselves well, I still never allow them to be off leash (there are also raccoons, rabbits and don’t want to see a dog chase them into traffic which is probably the greatest threat). I don’t mind their presence and pray no pets ever falls victim to their presence. Coyotes are lightning fast and quite wily. How else can a wild creature survive in a highly urbanized environment? Stay safe.

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  19. The first time I heard foxes I thought it was a baby crying. We have them here, though to be honest, haven’t seen any for over a year as Maggie was still with us. I saw a badger running down the road a little while ago and that warmed my heart.

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  20. We have no wild dog breeds in England, only foxes. So I would be interested to see a coyote. Their pups are very cute!
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  21. We live in a rural area with lots of land around us and spread out neighbors. We’ve only seen a coyote on a few occasions, once with a small critter in its mouth; likely a small cat or kitten from the pack of around 20 feral cats in the adjacent property. The coyote threw his head back and the critter appeared to slide down into its belly. If it was a cat no love lost on my Kloe’s part as she hates those cats. As gentle a soul as she is I can actually imagine her doing the same. Not really, but it sure would be interesting to see what she would do if she caught one. I’m pretty sure your small pups would not be abducted so long as you are nearby but not worth taking that chance. Also, watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing… 😉

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  22. Your post makes me consider coyote sounding like coy ow tee, or if Bob is just coy. Hoping safety for you all.

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  23. I saw a coyote or two when I lived in northern NJ years ago, but nothing like I see (and hear at night!) now in California. They’re everywhere and I’ve heard many stories of them taking cats and little dogs. There are companies that make coyote-proof jackets for little dogs, they have spikes on the back and make the dogs look like little dinosaurs!

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  24. Darling coyote pups! We have hunting hawks and some eagles in the vicinity. Always accompanied our Cocker Spaniel dogs in the back yard until they got some size to them.

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  25. We have lots of coyotes in the Seattle suburbs and they don’t just hunt at night, have become brazen enough to hunt in twilight and early morning during the fall and winter. They often travel in twos or threes in the neighborhood, do run from humans, but not from the crows who flock and follow them squawking all the while and drawing humans to windows. They’ve killed lots of cats allowed outside by owners who don’t fret until it’s too late. There are stories on Nextdoor weekly of near encounters along with photos of the miscreants whose neighborhoods we inhabit. They also enjoy the squirrels, the wild rabbits and sometimes a small dog or an uncooped chicken. When their pups are born in the spring, the hunters are out even in the light of day. It’s weird to see them go around the traffic circles on our suburban streets rather than over them. I guess they don’t like fertilizer but don’t mind blacktop. (I’ve never seen a white one. Wondering if that’s a myth.)

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  26. Here in urban Connecticut my husband saw one yesterday afternoon on a nearby sidewalk. So much for being nocturnal. Usually, though, we have only seen one in the evening.

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  27. I live in Phoenix AZ by lots of coyotes. They are very dangerous and people do loose their pets just by leaving them in the yard unattended just like what you wrote like in a horror movie. You might not know that coyotes are unusually great at jumping very high walls. Many of my neighbors have 10-12 foot cement block fences and the coyotes (and other dangerous animals) have no problem getting in. Your dogs are cute. They are lucky to have you to write about them.

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  28. Only a couple of months ago a coyote in my neighbourhood was put down by police because it had bitten someone. The police believed that people had been hand feeding it, and it got too comfortable around humans. It’s great to care about wildlife, but people need to realize that being too friendly with or feeding wild animals is bad for them and rarely ends well. I hope your coyote keeps their distance.

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  29. Coyotes are well documented pests in the expansive ranch and farm lands of the western U.S. But I find it unusual a coyote would roam around a crowded urban or even suburban area.

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  30. Love your sense of humor; ”Bob’s harmless!”’ Another interesting blog with great pictures!

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