Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: That's NOT a dog!

Every morning, I pop out the back door and swing around the corner of the house to enter the screened enclosure attached to its south side to clean my cat's litter box.  Pipig usually follows me, entering her "catio" by means of a small pet door inside the living room, and I allow her 5 minutes of loosely supervised outdoor time to chew grass and generally take a look around.  Yesterday, as I opened the door, I got a big surprise.

It's hard to say which of us was more startled: me or the coyote (Photo taken from security camera footage)

The coyote took off as I simultaneously slammed the door closed.  As I told my husband about my sighting, we both looked out the living room window to the south (near the catio) and saw the coyote looking back at us.  As soon as he realized he'd been sighted again, he took off and kept going that time.

My husband pulled 30 seconds of video coverage of him stalking through the garden preceding our encounter.



Pipig wasn't in any direct danger during this encounter but she's probably not going to be allowed outside again during the morning hours for the foreseeable future.  She usually follows me around until she gets her outdoor time, brief as it is, but she didn't do so yesterday.  It may be that she was aware a coyote was in the vicinity.  She'd woken both my husband and I up during the early morning hours going from window to window watching something.  Our outdoor motion-detection lights went off around 5am so we checked the security camera footage around that time too and got another slice of critter action in our back garden.  The following 37-second video shows a raccoon at our fountain, surprised in much the same way as I was several hours later.



So it seems we were visited by at least one raccoon and two coyotes last night.  My husband saw both coyotes on another camera shortly after the larger one took off after the raccoon so we're reasonably certain the raccoon wasn't harmed.

Pipig calmly basking in the sun filtering through the front door yesterday afternoon


That's my Wednesday Vignette.  For more, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

29 comments:

  1. Wow! Perhaps not the kind of excitement you want, but exciting nonetheless. That night video.... phew! Pipig is such a cute kitty - I love the picture of her sunning herself. How is she doing after all the treatments? Better, I hope!

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    1. Pipig seems fine, Anna, presumably happy I'm no longer hauling her across town for chemo treatments every 3 weeks. The fur on her stomach is growing back and she's eating well, though she's definitely acting more like a senior cat these days.

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  2. Yikes! So glad Pipig was close to you. I've lost 2 cats from the feral colony I care for (TNR) and so have others in the neighborhood. We have coyotes here too. As more development expands here, the coyotes are displaced and look for food wherever it is. I'm surprised you're not short by one raccoon garden marauder since there were two on the hunt.

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    1. Coyotes have been here forever, Sandy, but they're definitely more aggressive and seemingly more desperate, now frequently seen hunting during daylight hours. My husband commented that the raccoon evidenced more immediate awareness of the coyotes than they did of him. The smaller coyote ran off as soon as the motion-detection light went off and the raccoon headed for the nearby tree, chased by the larger coyote; however, both coyotes showed up on another camera about a minute later so we suspect the raccoon escaped.

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  3. Oh Goodness. Just goes to show there is a whole lot of wild life when human aren't around!
    I would have been very unsettled seeing a Coyote in the back yard. It looks rather large, and it may have been it's mate in the nighttime camera; maybe they hunt together. First there were peacocks, then coyotes. What's next? I remember watching a tv show that tracked cougars in the Hollywood hills... thankfully you are nowhere near there. Your kitty is a beauty!

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    1. Well, we've always had skunks and possums. No cougars or bears here, but rabbits showed up last year for the first time since we arrived in December 2010 and they've returned this year. And now I also have a gopher, who I'm trying to harass into moving in the direction of the canyon using sonic and granule deterrents watered into the soil so I don't have to bring in lethal remedies.

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  4. I would be rooting for the coyotes to get the racoons. They carry diseases your cat could get. Yuck. It is just that they are so cute with those masks on. Don't let them fool you. Kind of scary having so many coyotes in the garden at once.

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    1. Oh, I don't underestimate raccoons, Lisa - they're fierce and I chase them off whenever I see them but they usually stick to late night pillaging. If the coyotes were to target any of the local critters, I'd currently have to vote for the gopher who has become very tedious with his destructive tunneling. A few friends teased me into naming him - I call him Kirottu, which is Finnish for "damned one."

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  5. Wow, one would think you lived in the country with all those critters in your yard. Lotsa action and pretty cool that you captured the drama on video. Above all, glad that Pipig is safe. <3

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    1. When we got our security cameras, my husband said we'd end up using them to check on the critters, which has been mostly true. Remember the coyote we discovered stole our newspapers?

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    2. Yes, I do, that was such an unusual behavior!

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  6. Oh! well-visited by wildlife!
    If you ever have the opportunity to visit Sweden, you are most welcome / Mariana

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    1. Thanks Mariana! I would love to visit Sweden some day as my paternal grandparents came from there. It is not likely to happen soon, however, especially as I hear the European Union may block US tourists because our federal government has done such a poor job of managing the pandemic here.

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  7. Gracious! That would definitely be alarming. I've heard we have them here around our neighborhood, but I've never seen them. I too, would fear for my pets. There seems to be more and more danger from wild animals in the city than ever before. I've heard around here that they are moving in from the country because there is so much easy prey here in the city. Keep safe.

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    1. My area is regarded as "semi-rural" and, as in the case of the foothill areas to the east of Los Angeles, we've always had a lot of critters. However, as building continues, they're getting squeezed into smaller and smaller areas and, yes, the supply of easy prey in the form of pets has got to entice them to creep ever closer to homes.

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  8. Yikes! Very disturbing even when you know the possibility of coyote visits exist. I'm sure Pipig is well aware that it's not safe right now and is happy to have the catio. I had a coyote in broad daylight not too long after I moved here down at the end of my driveway. I say it because my cat came tearing through the plants, across the planter box in front of the house and probably up a tree. I chased it off but it was very unnerving. Stay safe, Pipig. You too, Kris.

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    1. Pipig now has been blocked from going out in the morning, Barbara. She was in a bit of a snit about that yesterday but she seemed more accepting of the limitation today. I'll try putting cat grass out in her catio again, even though that hasn't appeased her in the past.

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  9. I've always fancied setting up a camera or two to monitor wildlife in the garden. Mind you, we don't get anything as exciting as a coyote or racoon... We get mostly garden birds and the odd hedgehog or badger.

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    1. Hedgehogs and badgers would be considered very exciting here, Nikki! Our local botanic garden recently offered a nighttime walk to check out nocturnal wildlife in the garden and used a hedgehog in the advertisement, presumably because someone thought it was cute when they conducted an online search for pictures of nocturnal creatures, raccoons and coyotes being too scary for most tastes. A group of us had a good laugh about the advertisement as of course hedgehogs aren't native to the US, much less Southern California, and certainly can't be found in that botanic garden.

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  10. A little TOO exciting as a garden visitor, but wildlife loses habitat as cities grow. I'd be tempted to try walking my cat in a harness, but that probably needs to start as a kitten. Couldn't even keep Thomas in the collar the vet put on him.

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    1. Yes, I've tried a harness on my older cats before, to no avail. Even with a harness, I'd be worried I couldn't snatch Pipig up fast enough if a coyote swept through - too many of my neighbors have lost their small dogs to them.

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  11. Pigpig may have been the unintended victim of the repellent properties of coyote urine! You can actually buy it for that purpose!

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    1. Pipig badly wanted back into the garden this morning so any coyote urine left behind during their visit must have disipated, Lisa. Unfortunately, the resident gopher wasn't prodded to move along by the coyotes' visit :(

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    1. Yes! The peacock was back yesterday too. He generously left 2 tail feathers behind for Pipig, which I passed along to her this morning, hoping to make peace for my refusal to allow her any time in the garden to chew grass.

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  13. Maybe he was looking for your gopher. Gophers come out at night to destroy. May they meet soon, with Wile E. the winner.

    There was one coyote here for a while that would trot down to the park past our house every day in the late afternoon, cruising right past me as if he was just another neighborhood resident, which come to think of it he was.

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    1. The coyote and his companion (mate maybe) seemed surprised to see the raccoon but chased it anyway. I think coyotes are opportunists and, right now, my garden offers a range of prey from feral cats, to bunnies, and perhaps a gopher. They've been in this area forever, way before humans moved in, but with homes encroaching on their hunting grounds, they appear willing to push their usual nocturnal schedule well into daylight hours.

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  14. You have such exotic wildlife. Are coyotes dangerous to humans?

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    1. Not generally but there are reports of them attacking people. The biggest danger is to small children and pets. The reports of them carrying off cats and small dogs are legion.

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