Monday, November 15, 2010

Oy! Coty Meets Coyote

I had heard rumors of missing cats in our semi-rural neighborhood, and even a blood and guts description of, well, the blood and gut remains one neighbor found of her cat one foggy morning. There were several accounts of coyote sightings caught in headlights during the wee hours of the night.

And then this morning, I had my very own close encounter.

I was walking my dog down our quiet neighbohood street just after sun-up when we were both startled by a large critter emerging from between two houses about 20 yards in front of us. My ferocious miniature poodle went ballistic but the beast only nonchalantly glanced our way, never even breaking stride. He wasn't exactly loping, but walked at a right smart clip as he crossed the street and disappeared between two houses on the other side of the road as if on a mission.

He ignored us like we weren't even there.

I understand urban coyotes are more common in Florida than most people realize. And by the time you see one, you're probably infestated. They're cunningly adaptable and surprisingly agile. This one had the coloring and height of a German Shepherd but was more gangly, thin and scruffy. He definitely had a wild look about  him.

I actually enjoy observing wildlife, which is why I moved to this 200-home subdivision on the cusp of town and country. It brings joy to my heart to see the array of sandhill cranes, iris', red-tailed hawks, owls, silver foxes, racoons, bunnies, possums, and even the occasional alligator traipsing down the middle of the road on a trek between the ponds flanking the neighborhood.

But I must say this encounter didn't bring me the least bit of joy. I'd say heart palpitations is more like it. I've read that coyotes consume just about anything - garbage, dog food, berries, roadkill, eggs, small pets and any kind or varment they can run down. And they've been known to breed with female dogs when one is handy, producing a "coy-dog," which can never be fully domesticated.

So what's an urban animal lover to do? Take the good with the bad and just get over it? Or buy a pellet gun and start packing? What's your opinion?

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