We live on the west side of Danville near Las Trampas Park. Sunday morning a bunch of turkeys gobbling through our yard woke us up about 7 a.m. They were making a lot of noise so my wife let our dog out and we could hear him barking and scattering the turkeys. Our dog Willie is a Border collie mix and he kept barking for about 5 minutes, so I went outside and called him. He was barking at the bottom of our driveway and I went down and opened the garage door and he came running back inside.
I was going back to bed but I happened to look our bathroom window and I saw this coyote pacing around behind a car at the bottom of our driveway where Willie had been. My wife and I watched him for about 30 minutes while he paced and circled behind the car and down behind a small retaining wall. Another coyote joined him/her and we watched, fascinated.
They were both as big as German shepherds and they looked really well fed, not like a small, scraggly one we had seen several years ago.
We were able to take a couple of pictures which I have attached. In the third picture, the fuzzy one I shot through the bathroom window you can make out the coyote just over the top of the car, where he was hiding.
We couldn’t figure out what they were doing until it dawned on us that they were laying in wait for Willie to return. This is pretty scary for us. Needless to say Willie and our cat Eddie are inside for a couple of weeks until we are secure they won’t be back.
Our dogs have had free run of our yards for the 25+ years we have lived in our house and we were wondering if you might have any advice on when it may be safe to let them out again? Thanks.
Rick Fiset, Danville
There are a LOT of coyotes in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in Contra Costa County roaming around Mount Diablo and the surrounding foothills. They normally prey on wild rodents (gophers, mice, brush rabbits, jackrabbits), quail and other small birds, etc. BUT, there are a lot of feral cats roaming around out there and they have also become prey for the coyotes.
At night, some coyotes will come into town and prowl around the neighborhoods while we humans are asleep. Pet cats that are allowed to roam around outside at night are often caught and eaten by these curious coyotes as they explore our yards. Small dogs that are left outside at night are occasionally attacked in their yards.
I am a strong advocate for keeping our pet cats inside as indoor cats and not allowing them to roam around outside, especially at night. My own two cats are indoor cats. That keeps them from killing small birds and other wildlife. It also keeps them safe from prowling coyotes.
I think you’re wise to keep your pets inside for a couple of weeks to give these coyotes a chance to move on. After the two weeks is over, I’d keep your cat inside permanently. If you can’t do that, I would at least keep it inside at night when coyotes do most of their hunting. (They also sometimes hunt during the day but tend to stay away from human habitation during daylight hours.) I’d also keep your dog inside at night.
The fact that nothing has happened to your dogs in the 25 years you’ve lived there is a good sign. Just keep in mind that there’s also a first time for everything. Be cautious. /Gary