Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Change in Residents

Yes, I mean a change in residents, not residence.  Usually, I find rabbits in these locations...

The top picture is a bush right outside our back door, and the bottom picture is a hedge right outside our front door.  The drip system keeps the soil moist, and that in conjunction with the shade keeps the animals cool.  I often see rabbits stretched out on their bellies in these locations, usually with a quail family strutting around them.

However, since my activity level outdoors has decreased substantially over the past week, new residents have moved in.

Each time I walk out either door, a coyote jumps up out of the bushes.  I've been trying to figure out if it is the same coyote moving between the back yard and the front yard or different ones in each yard.  This one got away too quickly for me to get a good look at it.

My gut is telling me that they are different, because the one in the front yard takes off running and doesn't look back, while the one in the back yard will stop, turn to face me, and make huffing and grunting warning sounds.  Now that I know it is frequenting that location, I'll make sure to get my camera ready next time I go out the back door.  I should be able to get a good picture of it since it holds still while challenging me.

Earlier today I had fallen asleep while in the middle of attempting to eat something.  When I woke, the remaining couple of grapes on my plate were warm.  I ate one and it didn't taste good, so I opened up the back door and chucked the other grape outside because it was closer than the kitchen trash and I'm trying to stay off my feet as much as possible.  Anyway, the coyote was startled by the grape hitting the ground, and it jumped up, looked at me, looked at the grape, thought a minute as if trying to figure out if it should run from me or eat the grape, and it ended up trotting a little further away, then grunting at me like an ape.  It's a very odd sound.  The first couple of times I heard it, I thought some neighbor on the hill was banging on something.  Then I saw the coyote's muzzle expelling air each time I heard the noise.  It's almost like a ventriloquist act.  They can throw their voice out so that it sounds like it is far off in the distance, even though the coyote was just about fifteen feet in front of me.

I'm torn on whether to let the coyotes stay and keep cool or whether to chase them off into the desert where they belong.  There's a tiny baby bunny living under my haystack who has grown to trust me, so it doesn't hop away when I approach.  One day I fed it some hay pellets and Safe Choice Senior, and now it's my buddy.  I don't want the coyotes getting a hold of it.  Also, I've got enough dog poop to clean up around this place.  Nobody here has outdoor cats because the coyotes are so prevalent.  I haven't had to worry about them bothering us when we have our dogs on leashes, but if we hear a pack of them coming toward us at night, we will drag the dogs indoors.

The rabbits and birds have learned that our presence outside means safety, because the coyotes won't hang around if the humans are out, so when we go down to the barn at feeding times, dozens of bunnies and quail come out of the woodwork.  However, one day I saw a jackrabbit go blasting past me when I was at the barn, followed by a coyote chasing it.  I scrambled to try to get between them to save the rabbit, but it hurt for me to move quickly, so I pointed at the coyote and yelled, "You go that way," but the coyote just streaked right on past me.  I'd never seen one moving that fast.  I read that they can run 40 mph. The sad part is that I know this jackrabbit.  I'm familiar with all the animals that frequent my property, and this is the first year we've had a jackrabbit stay with us.  I used to only see them on trail rides in the desert.  I was enjoying its company, so I hope it escaped the jaws of that coyote and will return.

Oh yeah, and we had our first poisonous toad come out last week.  I opened up the garage when I went down to the barn to let the horse out of their stalls after dark.  I walked into the dark garage on the way back and almost stepped on this huge toad that was bigger than my two hands put together.  I grabbed a box of Borax and used it as a blockade to keep the toad from hopping further into the garage.  I managed to herd it all the way off the driveway over to the neighbor's house.

Another reason why I don't want certain animals coming around is because they hang out in the dogs' yard, and then when we take the dogs outside to do their business, they can't focus because they are too busy sniffing the ground and following the scents left behind by the toads and coyotes.

We're also starting so see scorpions on both the inside and the outside of the house.  I squash them with a hiking boot before they have a chance to cause trouble.  Everyone is trying to keep cool, and they can feel the air conditioning emanating from our house.  They know they can experience the good life at our place.


Mrs Shoes said...

haha, I laughed at the thought of you herding all the nasties towards your neighbours house; since she doesn't care that she already has rodents & bugs inside her unoccupied home (only that no one know about them), & considering what a PITA she is, it sounds like a tiny taste of sweet revenge.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I just walked around the hedge, not thinking that the coyote would be there because it's not that hot out today, and it popped up out of the bushes right in front of me. I mean like two feet in front of me. We both spooked, I screamed, and the coyote took off running into the desert.