Almost Coyote Food

A rustling in the woods behind our house a couple of months ago revealed this encounter between two coyotes and a raccoon.  The raccoon jumped into this tree and climbed up out of reach.  Eventually the coyotes lost interest and wandered away.

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest indicates that forests are a rare habitat for coyotes, but we know from neighbors that these wild dogs also spend a lot of time around our homes at night.  A raccoon seems like a large mammal for a coyote to hunt (they usually eat small mammals, birds, snakes, etc.), but I suppose two of them together can attack larger prey.  Coyotes are the only large carnivore to still live in areas with a lot of people.  There are some concerns about this trend continuing and once in a while there is a report of coyotes “stalking” humans.  Part of the problem is that human activity sometimes results in food for coyotes (animals around bird feeders, garbage, etc.).  At the same time, according to The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Coyotes play an important role in the food chain by controlling mice, rats and other rodents and scavenging on dead wildlife that otherwise could spread disease.  Rodents make up the bulk of the coyote diet in both urban and rural settings. Many areas, such as cemeteries and golf courses, have reported declines in damage associated with gophers once coyotes appeared.

So, whether you golf or not, don’t be too quick to judge!

Our backyard forest is prime habitat for raccoons and we see them all the time.  They often scratch at our back door as if they wanted to come in and hang out.  I used to put goldfish in a small “patio pond” that my dad and I built a couple of years ago, but raccoons basically destroyed it (and ate all of the fish!).  So, we have learned to live with them as I’m sure they will continue to do with us.

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