Coyotes on the prowl - watch out for your pets

I've never seen Clyde so scared. He was running around on our deck last week growling and hissing like a mountain lion. When I opened the glass slider door he ran in the house and wrapped his shaking body around my legs, still hissing and howling. He kept looking back through the glass door at some large juniper bushes. There must have been a predator out there that was bigger than him, and that's pretty big as Clyde is certainly a large cat.

Stretched out lying down from his front legs to the tip of his tail he measures 36 inches. He's mostly an outdoor cat but he loves sitting on our laps purring as we pet him. Then he curls up on his special blanket and takes a nap before he goes back outside to explore around the yard. But this time was different. He continued running circles around my feet and hissing. Luckily, he had no visible injuries. I tried to pacify him with drinks of water and his favorite little mouse toys, but that didn't work. So I opened a can of tuna fish and put some in his bowl and he suddenly calmed down.

We think it was a coyote that frightened Clyde so badly. Several of our neighbors have been seeing them a lot recently. Carole Tomer saw not one, but five of them together recently behind their house and it looked like they were stalking Nicky, their much-loved dog. Carole said it was fascinating to see how they all seemed to communicate with each other without making any noise, just slowly creeping along toward their dog. It's a good thing Carole was at home as it would be terrible to see your pet being mauled by a pack of coyotes. When Carole went outside they all ran away quickly.

It's beginning to look a lot like spring you know, and with spring comes milder temperatures and food for the wildlife. This is also the time coyote pups will be born. It's funny how nature takes care of that. The female coyotes usually have about five or six pups and the babies are born blind and helpless in the den. And since the father is the principal hunter for the family, he's got to go hunting every day and bring home the dinner. So we may be seeing more of "Wild E. Coyote" this spring, and we better keep a good eye on our pets.

-- Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.


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