Environment: Foxes, Coyotes, Racoons, and Cats


Randy Black writes: In the Dallas suburbs, where I live, about 25 miles from the Dallas center, we lost our family cat two years ago to a coyote. Our neighbor lost their family cat night before last to a coyote that we’ve all seen in our neighborhood at night. Our subdivision borders a small river that wanders through the area on one side and a park with a pond on the other. The coyotes live in the river valley and come to the pond across from our home at night for a sip of water and any cat that might not be alert. On a full moon night, I can watch the coyotes down at the pond from my upstairs window.  They are grey, and resemble a small, malnourished German shepherd. I’ve had them right up to my bedroom window at night. Our town’s animal control officer met with my neighbors and advised us to keep our cats in at night. Lots of luck. He says that the typical trademark of the coyotes is that they only leave behind the feet of the cats which is exactly what we’ve been finding.

RH: The Webster Family Encyclopedia says; Contrary to popular belief, the main food of coyotes is not domestic animals.  Randy's testimony tells us that this is not just "a popular belief". It is this sentimental attitude toward wild animals which had led to the reintroduction of wolves into inhabited areas of the US and Europe over the objections of the local people.  We should recognize that an important aspect of human development has been victory over its enemies, wild animals.  Don't wax sentimental over the elephants which trample down the crops of poor peasants or the tigers which eat them. "Tiger, tiger shining bright..." is nonsense. I guess the poet had never met one.  The tiger would have eaten him and his poem.

I asked: Have raccoons and coyotes somehow found their way to Europe? From the UK, George Sassoon says: I hope not!  Regarding raccoons' popularity in the U.S., we have some friends near Chicago (now retired to Florida) who used to pay someone to cook for the raccoons when they were away!

RH: Unlike coyotes, raccoons and their families have a sentimental appeal, but we have a plague of them around here and we evict them forcibly.

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu. Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: November 19, 2004