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Friday, October 07, 2011

A Coyote and a Lesson from a Road Trip

When we were at Yosemite National Park recently, there was a coyote who had staked out a spot in a turnout on the road into the park, from which he begged treats from motorists. We saw him begging the first day that we entered the park. The next day, he was in the same turnout, but there were no cars stopped at the moment. He was just lying there, looking handsome and trying to lure a motorist from whom to beg.

We had driven past him and planned to turn around and go back to take some pictures. Doug found a place where he could pull off the roadway until traffic cleared enough to make a U turn. But the coyote had seen us stop; and, just like a hitchhiker running to catch a car that has stopped for him, the coyote got up and began trotting to us.

Of course, that caused more cars to stop. The coyote had to investigate them first, because they were closer. When they moved on, he continued on his way toward us. He approached the driver's side of our minivan first but soon saw that no treats were forthcoming from Doug. So he came around to my side. Of course, I offered him nothing, but I did get this photo of the little beggar before he moved on to another car that had pulled off a little further up the road.

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Of course, aside from my pleasure over the photo opportunity, it was disturbing to see that this animal had apparently become dependent on humans for its food. It's a behavior that the parent will most likely pass on to its offspring, and the result may be a generation of coyotes who will never learn to hunt their natural food sources and who will put themselves at risk of being hit by a car on the busy roads of Yosemite National Park.

On a lighter note, you know all those "You know you're old when..." jokes? Well, Doug came up with his own version of that today: "You know you're old when you use your pill organizer for a calendar."

I believe our more than three weeks on the road, living out of suitcases and pill boxes, may have prompted that profound thought.

11 comments:

  1. What an incredible photo, he's really looking at you. It is a disturbing thought that they become dependant :o(

    I loved the pill organiser! LOL ... very funny :O)

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  2. He looks rather well fed. I like the calender,when you are having fun you can forget about time.

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  3. He looks great,but yes,there is sadness involved.This is supposed to be a wild animal. GUess I am fast reaching that 'old' mark,checking to see which day it is by my pill organizer. LOL

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  4. Wow, that is a great photo. And very funny thoght from Doug. Hope your travels are going well! :)

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  5. Thanks, Deborah. I had to take the picture off my desktop because it made Doug sad for the coyote every time he looked at it. He's a sensitive guy. :)

    Steve - Maybe he does hunt some of the time or have a mate who does. He surely couldn't stay that well fed from tourists' treats. But he really knows how to work the crowd.

    I agree, Ruth. It's sad to see a wild animal become dependent on humans. As for the pill organizer/calendar, I thought that was a pretty good observation Doug came up with. Sad, but true.

    Thanks, Elizabeth. I'll tell Doug you enjoyed his joke. :)

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  6. It WAS a fun trip, GQ. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. What a handsome beast.. at least he looks healthy. I imagine that there are all sort of species in public places everywhere that become dependent on handouts. As long as it remains a public area, there's nothing that can be done to change that other than to inform the visitors about the risks of feeding.

    Doug's comment made me laugh. The association between pill organizers and aging is probably why Frank refuses to use one.

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  8. Hilary - The National Park Service does post signs everywhere warning people not to fee the wildlife. But not everyone heeds those warnings. The biggest beggars of all are the ravens. They're funny birds. I'm glad you enjoyed Doug's comment. Tell Frank that they really do make keeping track of the days easy. :)

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  9. A beautiful picture Linda; but a sad and valid point you make about his dependency on humans. His eyes look so sad.

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  10. Thanks, Keith. I thought his eyes looked a little funny myself, but I found those same eyes in several pictures on the internet. I guess that's their normal look.

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