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Coyote Play-Time

January 13, 2016
Coyote Portrait

Coyote, (c) Matt Knoth via Wikimedia Commons

A couple of days ago I was contacted by a reporter (Tristin Hopper) with the National Post, a Toronto-based newspaper. He asked me about a video that’s recently surfaced, showing a coyote playing with a ball that he found somewhere. The coyote repeatedly lets the ball roll down the hill and then gives chase, pouncing on it when s/he reaches it. It’s a fun video! We’ve talked about play behavior in urban wildlife before (remember the snowboarding crow?), and I wanted to add this to the mix.

Interestingly, one of the questions he asked me was whether or not this behavior demonstrates that the coyote is becoming acclimatized to humans. I don’t think there’s anything to suggest that this is what’s happening here — coyotes can just be very playful critters.

In the article, Hopper refers to me as “a former coyote researcher.” And I guess he’s right! Although I’m still working on articles, I haven’t done any new research on coyotes in a while. Sort of sad. Maybe I should get back into the saddle?

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