4 min read

Wild Coyote Discovers Her Favorite New Dinner

β€œIt was nearly half a pizza.”

A man in California who took up wildlife photography a decade ago had never seen anything quite like what he saw this fall β€” and he was lucky he had his camera with him.

Every morning, Russell Greaves, of Huntington Beach, California, goes out to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve behind his house to immerse himself in that slice of the natural world. He often sees coyotes, enough that he's begun to recognize individuals in the area.

"A lot of people here just love the coyotes," Greaves told The Dodo over the phone, during his morning walk on Tuesday.

One morning in October, he saw a familiar wild coyote. It was a mom who had given birth to a litter of pups six months before. 

"She had had four pups," Greaves said. "The pups would come out and play around, while dad went out to hunt. But they’re out on their own now."

Coyote pups in California reserve
Coyote pups Greaves spotted earlier this year | Russell Greaves

It was nice to see the mom again β€” but there was something different about her. And as she got closer, Greaves couldn't help but laugh.

Somehow, the mother coyote had found a pizza β€” and she decided to go ahead and take it with her.

“It was nearly half a pizza," Greaves said. It's not certain where the coyote managed to find this enormous meal. Greaves said that there are some homeless people who camp out in the woods and perhaps she swiped it from them.

Since her pups had already gone out on their own, she probably wasn't planning on sharing, Greaves speculated. "I thought, 'This has got to be for herself.'”

More important than this meme-worthy sight is the balance the residents of the area have struck with the natural world — something sorely lacking in other communities across the country, where coyotes are often brutally hunted in killing contests.

Admittedly, not everyone loves the coyotes quite as much as Greaves does, but many people are fascinated by the wild family living nearby, and people take precautions to ensure a peaceful coexistence. "We tell people to not feed the coyotes. They’re not here to eat human food," Greaves said. "We tell people who are walking their little dogs to be careful because the coyotes are around."

"The coyotes come back to the same habitat because they like it here," Greaves added.

And the coyotes are lucky to have people like Greaves, who love having them there.

You can help people coexist with coyotes and other wildlife β€” to learn how, visit Project Coyote. You can also donate to the wildlife reserve.