Blog: Strange Encounters

A chance encounter with a coyote and a passerby leave a strangely peaceful feeling in this local resident.

Last week I was listening to Larry Mantle on Air Talk on KPCC at noon. The subject was coyotes. He had a woman on who was an expert on coyotes. She had an answer for every question called in. “Do coyotes attack or bites small children,” was a popular question. She said from information collected everywhere, there are no occurrences of coyotes biting kids. But she admonished, “Don't ever leave your kids unattended. There are bees, mosquitoes, and dogs. Dogs do bite kids.”

Another question that someone asked was, “What do you do when you are suddenly close to a coyote?” The answer was,  “Stay in place. Wave your arms, shout, make noises. Coyotes will leave. Don't run away. Coyotes may confuse you with the prey trying to escape.”

That reminded me that last year on a Sunday morning, I was out in front of our home. I noticed a dog walking up the middle of Wilson Avenue. It was walking quite slowly. On second look, it sure did look like a coyote. It had a ragged coat, and didn’t look very healthy.

When it got near, an expensive luxury car with a lady driving drove up and stopped. The window rolled down and called out to me, “What is that animal?”

“I was trying to decide. It looks like a coyote to me.”


“A coyote? What are you going to do about it?”


“Ma’am, I just saw it. What do you think I should do?”


“Well, do something. You need to shoot it!”

All I could do all I could think is what bum idea that was. The first thing that would happen if a gun went off in the city limits of San Marino is that it would result in ten phone calls and the San Marino Police Department. Besides, this was an animal that had just wandered into city limits.  It wasn’t hurting anyone.

About that time, the coyote walked up the street just opposite the door of the lady’s car. She took one look and quickly rolled up her window. Then she drove off in a hurry. The coyote walked east past me, and down the street in a leisurely manner.

The last I saw of it was at Wilson and Pasqualito.  Then it was out of sight. It never hurt anyone and actually got me to admire its nature, the way it just wandered through our lives like that.

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Barbara Ellis November 01, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thanks for writing this. I'm sad that so many people want to distance themselves from nature, want to shoot it. Anyway, if you shoot an alpha male or female, the only ones in a pack allowed to breed, all the other females start to breed, so the pack gets bigger. I'm no lover of coyotes - they ate my beloved cat - but they're part of nature.


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