A string of recent coyote attacks on children in California have parents on edge. Coyotes have reportedly snapped at children and tried to drag toddlers away from their mothers in their own front yards and from their nannies in their neighborhood parks.
Now. I know the difference between wolves and coyotes and foxes. And I know the difference between California and Ireland. But these reports have definitely made me look at my backyard and wildlife differently. And I definitely gasped when I saw the video and read this story.
When wild animals don't attack
While on vacation recently in Ireland, we all stayed in a farmhouse bed and breakfast run by a mad woman with a cat obsession. She had mentioned that there was a fox that visited the farm on a regular basis, at the time we didn't think much of it.
The next day however, as we returned from a hike we rounded the barn to see a fox standing in the middle of the farmyard. My wife and I froze and started taking pictures. Meanwhile mad cat woman appears, hands our three-year-old daughter a hunk of meat and says "give that to the fox." Our daughter dutifully holds out the meat while the fox trots up and grabs it out of her hand.
This continues for a few minutes, the owner giving our daughter raw meat, the fox grabbing it out of our daughter's hand. Then I suddenly get a mental image of my wife and I sitting at home on the sofa watching some trashy TV show called "When Wild Animals Attack." On-screen a small child is being savaged by a rabid fox, I turn to my wife and say "what the hell were those people thinking, letting their child feed a wild animal?"
Oh bugger, kiddo, put the meat down and step away from the fox.