Nowadays, coyotes seem to be everywhere. They are often blamed for the disappearance of everything from cats and small dogs to a good night’s sleep. But they are very interesting animals.
In Native American lore they were known in various ways, primarily as the Trickster. Different tribes or peoples however thought of them in different ways, as a teacher, a hero, a helper, a bad omen, or as both funny and fearsome. Just like people, they appeared to have multiple personality traits, a good reason perhaps for thinking of them as a Trickster. (Unlike people, they will never try and trick you into making you think they are a Nigerian prince or a distant relative and ask you for money.)
Fun fact – coyotes are fast – capable of running at speeds of up to 40 mph. Roadrunners, in case you were wondering, max out at around 20 mph. To put this another way, in the Warner Brother’s cartoons, the roadrunner should have been Wile E. Coyote’s dinner every time out.
Conclusion: Don’t get your science from cartoons, unless it’s from someone like Larry Gonick (www.larrygonick.com), author of The Cartoon History of the Universe, among many other books.
And don’t forget to check out my humorous essay on coyotes, “Coyotes – Get Used to Them”. Forthcoming Book
2 thoughts on “Curious Science – The Coyote”
I love Gonick’s History. I own all the volumes. It is hilarious and thoughtfully insightful at the same time. I also love Wiley Coyote. But not for his scientifically accurate portrayals of coyote life.
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Thanks. I agree – Gonick’s great. And I noted your own pretty cool cartooning and interest in the classics. I’m a Walt Kelly guy myself, though there’s too many other great ones to mention. I find it hilarious that Bill Griffith (of Zippy the Pinhead fame) lives in my small hometown. Hope I can meet him someday.