We’ve seen a lot of coyote videos over the years, but we were particularly taken with this footage of a coyote playfully rolling around in a local backyard, in a kind of adorable way just like we’ve seen our family dog doing hundreds of times. Our deepest thanks to Buzz reader Ali Jack for sharing footage that was taken with a security camera in her backyard. So what’s this animal doing and why? And should we be worried?
“The coyote in the video is exhibiting cheek rubbing behavior,” explained Miguel Ordeñana, Senior Manager, Community Science at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
“Coyotes are territorial animals and silently communicate in a variety of ways (e.g., urine, feces, cheek rubbing) to let other coyotes or other species (e.g., domestic dogs) know that they were there and that they are using the area,” explained Ordeñana. “Cheek rubbings allow coyotes to leave their saliva and scent for lip glands. It seemed to respond to a specific scent in the grass so it could be responding to the scent left behind by a dog, cat, or another coyote that also uses that yard. Communication via scent and long distance vocalizations are beneficial because they reduce the need for face to face interactions, which can be risky.”
According to Ordeñana, this behavior is not a sign of aggression and we needn’t be worried. This animal is just sharing the neighborhood with us.
“These animals have adapted to this landscape and it’s up to us to make sure it remains a peaceful coexistence,” said Ordeñana. “If we take precautions like sealing our trash cans and keeping our small pets indoors at night, there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy sharing space with these animals.”
You can watch the full video here: