West Seattle wildlife: Coyote and seal-pup sightings

The cameraphone photo’s from Bill Reid, who says he spotted the coyote this afternoon just north of The Triangle:

I just shot a pic of this coyote on the corner of 37th SW & Genesee! It had someone’s pet chicken in its mouth but I almost hit it with my car and it dropped the bird! Needless to say, the bird ran away and the coyote just jogged off in the direction of the West Seattle golf course. Broad daylight and it wasn’t the least bit concerned about cars and people! Amazing!!!!

Remember – do your best to make sure they’ll be concerned about people, for the good of them and us (the advice is here).

Meantime, another wildlife sighting – photographed on the Harbor Avenue shoreline by Christoph Erhard:

We have expert advice on what to do when you encounter a seal pup – for one, stay WAY far back – they might get scared into the water, and their moms, who usually leave pups on the beach so they can go seek food, might not be able to find them. Plus, notify Seal Sitters; their online journal of seal-sitting is here. (Very busy time of year for them – and thanks to everyone who’s shared seal photos, including the ones we haven’t even gotten to publish yet – we’re assured they’ve been taken from a distance.)

36 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife: Coyote and seal-pup sightings"

  • miws September 17, 2011 (9:18 pm)

    Why did the chicken cross the road?


    To get the hell away from the coyote after waaaayyy too close of a call!



  • boy September 17, 2011 (9:20 pm)

    It is time to start traping or to put a bounty on these pet killers. Like someone said before “I wonder why there are so many missing cat posters.” All this cr/p about how we need to coexsit is bull. I have to pets in my yard and if I see one in my backyard it’s gone.

  • Mike September 17, 2011 (10:10 pm)

    Keep your cat inside. I’ve yet to read a post about a Coyote knocking on the door to get inside. ‘boy’ needs to get a grip. You leave your pets outside, that’s the risk you take. You’re actually more likely to lose your pet to a car running it over than a coyote.
    Also, don’t forget that if your cat is on the property of your neighbor, they legally have the right to make it disappear as well. Would I do that to my neighbors cat, no, but I know some neighbors around me that would.

  • ltfd September 17, 2011 (10:31 pm)

    It’s time to place a bounty on roaming domestic cats, one of the major predators of native wildlife- birds, shrews, snakes, amphibians, etc. All this cr/p about how they are the neighbor’s cute pet is bull. I have native animals in my yard, and if I see a prowling cat in my backyard it’s gone.
    Or, I could just let the coyotes eat the roaming predatory kitties, and maybe everything will balance out.
    Hi ‘boy’.

  • AJP September 17, 2011 (10:42 pm)

    I almost thought the coyote ate the baby seal.

  • Jasperblu September 18, 2011 (6:10 am)

    I have several neighbors who have “outdoor cats” that are in MY yard more often than their own. Not one of them wears a collar, let alone collars with bells. They do their business in my planters, dirt & grass as if it were their personal litter box (ever smell cat business? It’s musky as h*ll!). They try to catch & eat the wild birds that are feasting at multiple feeders in my backyard, which is almost as offensive as the poop/pee business.
    If it weren’t for the fact that I actually like all animals & would never harm one (save maybe a cockroach), I’d find myself wishing for a coyote or three to visit my yard once and awhile so they can take care of my cat problem. Alas, all I’ve got is raccoons & possums, but they don’t seem to pay the cats any mind. The ‘yotes might find *them* tasty too. Hmmmmm…
    Not that I really want a ‘yote in my backyard. They’re seriously NOT pets. But they shouldn’t be trapped either, and anyone who suggests such a thing should really consider moving into a loft apartment in Belltown. West Seattle is a forest for crying out loud!
    The cats on the other hand… Anyone have a trap I can borrow?
    PS to my cat owning neighbors: mostly I’m kidding, but PLEASE do put a belled collar on your cat. And while you’re at it, could ya clean up after your dog when it goes poop on my grass? I’ve got a little kid who would actually like to play outside without stepping in animal dookie every day. Yuck!

  • Aman September 18, 2011 (6:38 am)

    Nice Photo Bill. THANKS!

  • austin September 18, 2011 (8:22 am)

    Between the way people go on about outdoor cats and people on bikes on this blog you’d think west seattle is like some kind of mad max meets planet of the apes post apocalyptic wasteland with roving gangs and packs of animals raping and feeding off the remaining innocent holdovers who were stuck here through no fault of their own.
    Get a grip people.

    • WSB September 18, 2011 (9:04 am)

      No, you wouldn’t. And you don’t have to read the comments. 30,000 people read the site regularly, but like pretty much EVERY news site, a small percentage comment, and many people choose not to read comment sections, an easy choice since most stories don’t jump and so you only see the comments if you choose to, or if you access a story page directly from RSS, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and choose to scroll past the bottom of the story. Anyway, having run the Pets page for going on 4 years now, even as staunch wildlife champions, we can see why some folks are upset. I can’t get a wildlife expert to tell me how many coyotes are around, but it’s obvious the number is increasing. With that, pet owners, particularly cat owners, have to make a decision: Run the risk, or, if they have been letting their cats go outside, re-train them. Not all missing cats are lost to coyotes; raccoons kill some. Cars kill some. Some get in fights with other cats. Some go away and die quietly somewhere because they’re sick. But it’s clear as day, some ARE lost to coyotes. Do we as a society want to have armed officers patrolling for coyotes and shooting them? Some communities around America have made that choice. If you want to see fewer of them, that would be the only way, as there’s no way to just trap and relocate them – imagine how many traps, how many trucks, how many trips to – where? – that would require.
      On a completely different coyote side note, has anyone ever seen one hit by a car? Or a dead one, in any circumstance? For all the times you pass a raccoon, a possum, a cat … I have never heard of one. Certainly they have to die sometime. But where and how does it happen? – TR

  • boy September 18, 2011 (9:24 am)

    Itfd. I don’t have cats I have dogs. My dogs stay in the yard. But keep in mind that peopls cats arn’t roaming around killing peoples pets. With the increase in coyotes it seems the thret is growing. If I lived in the country with farm animals these things would be shot on sight. But hear in the city we have to worry about our house pets. Like the montra goes we must worry about the safty of the children. And thats no joke.

  • John M. September 18, 2011 (9:43 am)

    Austin, you made me laugh out loud! Thanks.

  • Cheryl September 18, 2011 (10:11 am)

    Tracy, I’ve seen dead coyotes on the sides of country roads, but never in the city, and definitely not in Seattle (yet). That said, I’ve seen LOADS of dead possums and raccoons. In fact, there was a dead raccoon on the grass at 35th and maybe Kenyon(ish) just yesterday.
    I’m really not trying to knock cats, I actually like them quite a bit. I inherited my (now gone) dad’s sense of humor about cats I guess, and funnily enough, he loved cats more than anyone I’ve ever met. Cats get killed by all sorts of things… so do dogs that run around off-leash. It’s a fact.
    Dunno if there are really more coyotes though. Maybe they’re just more brazen. Or maybe they are sheltered enough and well-fed enough to thrive. It’s certainly been true of coyotes in other towns. And no, I would NOT be okay with folks running around shooting them on site. What if they made a mistake and shot a kid walking a dog?
    And cats DO kill. They are the number one killer of song birds in this country. That may not matter to a cat lover, but it sure as heck matters to this Bird Nerd.
    It’s all relative isn’t it?

  • JoAnne September 18, 2011 (10:18 am)

    Some removal programs work by killing only the “alpha” or most aggressive coyotes, not all of them (that would be impossible anyway).

    This is enough to put the fear of people back into the remaining coyotes in that area for about a year or maybe more.

    Here is a site that has some research reports

  • datamuse September 18, 2011 (10:48 am)

    I once found a coyote skeleton while clearing ivy in the West Duwamish Greenbelt with Nature Consortium. Buphalo was very excited. I’ve never seen a recent carcass, though.
    I agree, IF it’s decided that their numbers here should be reduced, killing them is the only way. Trap and relocate to rural locations? The farmers won’t thank you.

  • blueovalobject September 18, 2011 (11:58 am)

    It seems the coyote population might be getting larger around here. Does anyone know if there is a place to voice concern about this to wildlife offices? Maybe they need to capture and neuter them (then release), as opposed to killing them. I could do without a few of them having litters of pups. It seems like it could only get worse since they don’t seem to have many predators.

  • Cheri September 18, 2011 (12:09 pm)

    Hello Again, I am giving you the Fish & Wildlife number to make your concerns known. 425 775 1311 Please let them know and send the pictures so they can really see what is happening. There is a law about trapping Initative 713. This was inforced way before the coyotes grew in such numbers. Yes, keeping our pets indoors would be of help, but, the cat I lost to these coyotes was fifteen years old and retraining was a diifficut choose since he had been out in our yard all of those years. Soon they could breed with our domestic dogs and the trouble like breeding with wolves will be a new concern. PLEASE make those calls and let YOUR concerns be known!!!!!!! 425 775 1311 THANKS for reading, Cheri

  • Jiggers September 18, 2011 (3:17 pm)

    coyote sightings are almost as common as seeing dogs..

  • Cakebake September 18, 2011 (6:09 pm)

    I live near the end of sw holden next to 8th ave.
    Last summer on a walk i saw dead yote.
    It was on the road behind the shell station thats on west marginal in the ditch. Its was across the backstreet from the waste management spot where they load the trucks. I think its called sw detroit st.
    I poked it with a stick myself

  • Neal Chism September 18, 2011 (10:27 pm)

    I have lived here twenty years now. Had lots of house cats, all of these animals managed to have normal heathy indoor/outdoor lives.
    I also have a cat door in the back of the house that works with a magnetic latch. It is probably one of the most advanced mechanisms of its’ kind in the area. No less than seven engineering revisions and modifications have been made to the standard store bought unit just to keep the damn raccoons out out of the house. It is so advanced now that I can tell you if it was a left handed raccoon vs. a right handed raccoon that was trying to break inside last night. The West Seattle raccoons are usually only an issue during periods in the spring and fall. We all complained about the raccoons a few years back too, and now we have to accept the fact that they are bigger and nastier than ever. The trend is upward in both areas. But I now keep no food or water in the backyard for the other little animals, and I still have to shovel raccoon crap out of my backyard and deal with that diseased filled stuff.
    I have also accepted the fact that my pet cats are going to die of something, cars, fights with other cats, coyotes, and/or raccoons. (One stitch at the vet is up to about ten bucks now. Old Spike took 40 stitches to get sewed up from a raccoon run-in many years ago.) However, the fact of the matter is that I live in the city and I don’t want to live with coyotes, wild dogs, in the city. If I wanted to live with these animals I would move out to the country. Look at the size of the animal in the picture that was last posted. Are you kidding me! It is a great looking animal. Healthy, well fed, nice coat.
    Now, per the West Seattle Blog; “Do we as a society want to have armed officers patrolling for coyotes and shooting them?”,
    “Some communities around America have made that choice. If you want to see fewer of them, that would be the only way, as there’s no way to just trap and relocate them – imagine how many traps, how many trucks, how many trips to – where? – that would require.”
    This is pretty much biased “news” talking. What happened to keeping and open unbiased opinion about the “news”. The WS blog has now become “old” media with this statement. How many trucks is it going to take in the future? I and others warned you of this issue more than a year ago, and the WSB just kept posting the standard “coexisting with coyotes” politically correct link. Live and let live, and lets just all ignore the problem cause these guys are just sooooooooo darned cute….
    Like other pet owners, I spend hundreds of dollars a year on my pets keeping them healthy and up to “code” with the state, county, whoever I have to deal with that requires it, just to have a pet cat at home that keeps the area free of rats and mice. Yes RATS and MICE. We all have them here. Every city does. If you think that your area is special, well its’ not. Our block now has a rental property three houses up that is leaving plastic yard bags of trash out in the alley. Time to call the health department on him. Wonder why the city has rats?
    So I will not be adopting anymore cats in the future after my two current cats are gone. The vet will not be getting any more of my dollars for owning a pet. The state will not be getting my dollars for this, nor will the county or the city either. I say live and let live. Keep them inside or outside, it won’t matter to me. I will let others adopt, spay, neuter, and find a good home for these animals. Maybe we can get coyotes to bring in a tourist dollar or two to fill in.
    As for cats killing birds, I have one cat that is an expert hunter. The ratio is about 5 to 10 percent birds compared to mice and rats that he brings in. He has yet to bring in an Osprey, Eagle, or anything bigger than a robin. So the old “cats killing all the song birds” argument is just horse shit. Maybe you should consider all those rats that will be raiding the nests of your song birds and eating them while they are still in the egg? Too much reality there to deal with here….? My cat brought in four mice and one rat in one 18 hour period this summer. A twenty year record by our accounts. It has been this way all summer long too for some reason. Either that new renter and his trash he is leaving out, or maybe it is the lack of other cats due to coyote attacks.
    So, let’s just get rid of all the cats by doing nothing. Keep all the coyotes you want. You’re on your own. But you better buy some mouse traps now cause your gonna need ’em. Then look at some history about Hanta virus and other rodent related diseases, and worry, because this coyote issue, which is a city level issue, is in the hands of a state agency, the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    “It’s time to place a bounty on roaming domestic cats”
    “and if I see a prowling cat in my backyard it’s gone.”.
    So let us go ahead and put a bounty on all roaming cats.
    Then it will soon be time for the Seattle Health Department to pay money to the residents of Seattle to bring in dead rats. Just like they had to do in the 1930’s.
    Why does history repeat? Cause people are ignorant of it.

  • Cleveland Ken September 19, 2011 (10:47 am)

    WOO HOO 5 blocks away from me. Hopefully they make it to my neighborhood soon and the feral cat problem will be solved. The coyotes can also eat all the cat food that people put out for the dirty diseased cats, after they eat all the cats of course.

  • Neal Chism September 19, 2011 (2:42 pm)

    Now scroll back up to the top of these comments and have a good look again at the great picture the guy took with his cell phone of this coyote.
    The coyote isn’t posing for this picture.
    The animal has already determined that this man is not a threat, an is giving him a good look over to see if he might be a pray item. The coyote just lost the chicken he was about to eat, so he is still hungry and looking for dinner.

  • Jeff B. September 19, 2011 (7:59 pm)

    Mr. Chasm,

    “Cat’s killing all the song bird” argument is just horse sh*t?

    That statement could not be further from the truth. I would hate for scientific research to get in the way of a ridicules statement like that, but it’s out there.

    How do you know your cat is an “expert hunter”‘ did he win some competition at some point? My point is your cat is one of how many in the U.S.? Even if you take your ratio and multiply it by the number of cats in this country, your talking tens of millions of song birds each year. Do you see how this type of reasoning works? With numbers and logic one can be slightly more accurate than an uninformed opinion.

  • Mike September 19, 2011 (10:00 pm)

    Chism, you don’t live downtown, much less in Brooklyn. You don’t actually live ‘in’ city. You live on a peninsula surrounded by natural habitat on multiple sides. Believe it or not, but deer and bear can swim here from Vashon. You’d better run and hide before a black bear shows up.
    You are more likely to be shot driving around here than preyed on by a coyote. That pic shows me an animal keeping an eye on the worlds biggest predator on the food chain. They know where they are in the food chain. Stop leaving easy meals out and they won’t stick around. I grew up in the sticks, I’ve backpacked 30+ miles into the heart of the Okanogan multiple times and Never had an issue with wildlife.

  • Neal Chism September 19, 2011 (10:59 pm)

    I seem to get taxed like I live ‘in’ city.

    I have lived here ‘in’ city and no bear has shown up from Vashon as far as I can remember. But if one did, I bet DFW would probably do something about the bear. So, yes W. Seattle is really a city environment where bears are probably not on the A list.
    Being shot at is more likely than being preyed on by a coyote. Good logic there. I agree, but I don’t really want either selection to choose from.
    “I’ve backpacked 30+ miles into the heart of the Okanogan multiple times and Never had an issue with wildlife.”

    Well bully for you. I have driven up and down I-5 multiple times and not been shot at. Again good logic. The probability of going out in the woods and you being eaten is pretty low, however the personal cost would be pretty high. I think I mention that about the coyote/human interaction.
    I grew up in the sticks too but I think the point is that our pets are being eaten by uncontrolled wild dogs here ‘in’ city.

  • seirmilcy September 20, 2011 (12:11 am)

    About a week ago, I took my dog out to the bathroom around 1am, we live by the junction, anyways, luckily I dont let my dog wander without putting his leash on. He started to growl and I look up to something running right in front of our yard, its late, I thought it was a wolf so I ran back inside, lol. Then found out from people that there have been sightings of coyotes…yikes. Keep your pets safe :)

  • Mike September 20, 2011 (5:26 am)

    There have also been bear and cougar found in Magnolia. Black bear are scared like coyotes, mostly eating food and garbage lazy people don’t secure outside. Cougar are a bit more likely to chase you down if they feel threatened.
    I’d bet money Chism has heard of people shooting/stabbing people around here but no coyote attacks on humans here yet. Stop leaving pets and food outside.

  • Neal Chism September 20, 2011 (7:42 am)

    Ah, maybe horsesh*t was to strong of a word. I really meant to say horse doo doo. Sorry.

    Your argument that cats kill lots of (song) birds takes into account, or blames only cats. Cats kill song birds, therefore I hate all cats…. Good simple logic that in no way captures the situation or complexity that exists here.
    Remove all the cats from the city and watch the mice and rat populations explode. Then get back with me on those song bird numbers. In the 1930’s we had a strange flu epidemic that killed a lot of the cats in the city. The rodent population then did explode. Ever hear of rat island? Check on how many birds they have left there.
    Right now with lack of action from DFW, the coyotes are thinning the herd of cats, then after that I would guess that the squirrels are next. Then maybe the coyotes will finally get around to dealing with the raccoons.
    My argument here is that allowing wild packs of dogs in the city, will have more than one bad side effect other than our just losing our pets.

  • eastwest September 20, 2011 (7:57 am)

    One of the things that I treasure most about WS is the balance that exists here. That Nature and people seem to coexist. That people have chickens and big vegetable gardens, for a city environment. Chism talks about history repeating and he should look at all the times man has forced his will on nature and the negative consequences it brings. I am sure coyotes help to control the raccoon population. Will there be losses of chickens, cats and small dogs on occasion yes but all the above are killed by cars now. People also are killed by cars. Do you want to ban them also? I didn’t think so. We can co-exist and just like I teach my kids to look both ways before crossing the street I also remind them of what to do should they come across a dog they don’t know, a coyote or any other wildlife.

  • Neal Chism September 20, 2011 (8:26 am)

    Reply to Mike’s comments.
    “There have also been bear and cougar found in Magnolia.”
    Also in Bellevue, Lynwood, etc. etc.. Are these animals still there? Probably not. They were probably in Magnolia for about a day or two at most each before being removed. Is Magnolia part of the city? I guess they get all the swimming bears from Bainbridge…
    “Black bear are scared like coyotes,”
    If you take the time to go in and search the WSB site for the coyote reports and read all the comments about coyote/human encounters, you will find that the coyotes here don’t seem at all scared of us humans. There have been many comments about how strange it seems for them (coyotes) to be so “at ease”.
    “mostly eating food and garbage lazy people don’t secure outside.”
    Like my new rental neighbors! Or are you saying there are a lot of lazy people over by the golf coarse where most of the reports seem to be centered on?
    Looks like the coyotes are going to thrive here, and they like golf.
    “Cougar are a bit more likely to chase you down if they feel threatened.”
    That is why we don’t allow many of these in the ‘city’ either.
    “I’d bet money Chism has heard of people shooting/stabbing people around here ”
    I have. That is why we all pay a lot of money in taxes to have a police force that tries very hard to prevent the human shooting/stabbing crimes. I don’t want to be shot or stabbed while living in the city, and this has nothing to do with coyotes in the city.
    “but no coyote attacks on humans here yet.”
    True, but my main argument has been about coyotes impacting the owner subsidized rodent control program we have here in the form of our pet cats. It works, you pay nothing if you don’t own a cat, and our cats keep your area clear of mice and rats too. It is not a perfect system, the cats eat a few (millions) birds along the way, and they pee on stuff too.
    “Stop leaving pets and food outside.”
    No my pet gets to go outside. It is legally allowed. Wild dogs in the city are not allowed. So get rid of the coyotes now while their numbers and sizes are small.

    • WSB September 20, 2011 (8:32 am)

      To Neal’s point about searching – No searching required. “Coyotes” happens to be one of the dozens of category archives we have (see the list toward the bottom of the sidebar) – every category you click there, including “coyotes,” will bring up the reverse-chronological archive of every story we have ever tagged with that category, and you can scroll through them all without having to use the search box at all (which provides a less predictable result, since it’s subject to Google’s perception of relevance). Many stories have multiple category tags, so you also will find all the coyote stories in the category link next to “wildlife,” which also covers seals, owls, otters, etc. – TR

  • Neal Chism September 20, 2011 (9:08 am)

    Reply to eastwest comments.
    “One of the things that I treasure most about WS is the balance that exists here. That Nature and people seem to coexist.”
    I just feel my Chakras getting all cleansed when I here the “we are all just living together and the big happy family” statements. The fact of the matter is that we humans live in a city where there are so many constraints put on us by living here, we don’t even notice it anymore. What we can and can’t do is governed by long lists of codes, laws, and regulations.
    “You can have chickens, but only 3 or 5 max. and they have to be hens.” “You can have a bee hive, but don’t point the opening of the box towards your neighbors yard.” You can trim your trees in your back yard just as long as you are so many feet away from the power lines.” The constaints are nearly endless it seems.
    And so the list of animals we allow into the city. It is a short one. The list of the ones we don’t allow is very long.
    I do agree that humans can do better. We still stab and murder each other. We still flush raw sewage out to the sea every time it rains hard. I pick up tons of plastic trash by the Duwamish every year that chokes and kills the few animals that we do allow in the city. Believe me I think that humans can do better. Just takes one trip down to the fishing pier on Harbor Island to see all the trash and crap that is left behind by the humans during fishing season to see that we need to do better.
    This issue of the coyotes in W. Seattle is a new one. This has occurred in the last year or two, and since the coyotes don’t have a natural predator that will limit their numbers, the situation will get worse instead of better. If we act now to manage the numbers, it will be easier, cheaper, and more humane than waiting, and being reactive. Then Tracy you will have troops of armed DFW people marching around and trucks going in and out at all hours of the night.

  • austin September 20, 2011 (8:44 pm)

    No question about it. Time for bear patrols.

  • Neal Chism September 22, 2011 (10:56 am)

    My expert cat just brought in one more dead rat this morning at 4:33 a.m. for us to review and take care of.

  • Bert October 1, 2011 (4:59 pm)

    My wife & I were surprised to look out Friday evening about 11:30 pm and see a coyote trotting west on Holden by California Ave carrying what was probably a raccon. Couldn’t be certain due to the angle, but best guess based on the bushy tail hanging from the coyote’s mouth.

  • Katina October 1, 2011 (9:59 pm)

    What was left of Biko, our beloved and sweet black cat was discovered by our mail carrier in our neighbor’s front yard early this afternoon. We live near the intersection of Walnut and Hanford. By the looks of it, we are certain it was the work of a coyote.

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