The latest scoop on Emily-the-coyote

July 24, 2010

I have written elsewhere on this board and in my newspaper column about Emily-the-ugly-coyote. She lives around the farm, does no harm, and provides us with considerable amusement when we watch her eat apples in the orchard.

This evening I cut the patch of hay below the garden. Emily oozed out of a stand of ragweed, then decided to ignore the tractor and continue her hunt for the very large mice (I can’t call them rats) that I often see on the ground there while mowing. More power to her.

But I got a very good look at this almost hairless coyote over a period of time as I made repeated trips past her. The more I looked at her head, the more I kept thinking of a Jack Russell terrier. Finally it hit me. Emily is not a spectacularly ugly coyote. She’s a coyote-coloured dog with a skinny tail. Jack Russell tails are docked for good reason, likely. When regarded as a terrier Emily suddenly looks like a large, robust, very well-fed specimen with a tight coat. I didn’t see any evidence of mange, just short hair.

This might account for her casual attitude toward us when we happen upon her. Terriers aren’t afraid of much. There’s a family of coyotes about, but the pair I saw two nights ago in the young walnuts were patterned more after a German Shepherd than a Jack Russell. They’re not exactly terrified of me either, but they keep their distance.

Emily obviously gets along with the coyotes because they share a territory, but I don’t know if she belongs in their singing group or not.

So I googled images of terriers. No, even though Emily is much shorter than most coyotes, she is way too big to be a Jack Russell. And her skull is too straight and triangular. It’s more like a bull terrier’s. Come to think of it, The rest of her is very like a bull terrier, as well, though she is somewhat lighter in build.  Her Coyote’s ears are a poor fit for that skull.  Face-on, peeking up out of the hay, she shows a distinct resemblance to Yoda, the Star Wars character.  Anyway, as Dr. Bill Barrett commented the first time he saw Emily, “There’s a lot of dog in her.”

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