Photographer Pamela Underhill Karaz took a wonderful series of snaps a few winters back outside her rural home in Trenton Falls, NY. She recently recalled the encounter with a playful coyote on Facebook.
“I spotted a handsome wild coyote down our long driveway. I watched and photographed him from inside of our house as he made his way across then up through the woods and into our yard. Taking in all the scents, he noticed an object in our yard and made his way over to where our young golden retriever had left her toy. He smelled it, cautiously picked it up then proceeded to PLAY with it, tossing it high into the air, throwing it around and very obviously thoroughly enjoying the experience… he then trotted off with his prize, the toy. It was very evident the coyote never thought this toy was prey, he didn’t pick it up to see if it came to life, it didn’t smell of being an animal.. it only had the saliva from our dogs on it and as someone once suggested, perhaps that had the scent of fun. There’s no doubt in my mind from watching his actions, it was all play, yes even wild coyotes need and like to play as do all the animals in the animal kingdom… Truly one of my most memorable wildlife experiences.”
Along with it, she posted the photos of the “Toy Thief,” urging people to share them. Mother Nature Network picked the tale under the headline, “Coyote finds old dog toy, acts like a puppy.”
Since then, tens of thousands of people have seen – and loved – the pictures. We have posted them for you here: