Remorseful driver takes unconscious coyote into car after hitting it — then it wakes up
Young coyote will likely make a full recovery in next few weeks, says Wildlife Haven director
A young coyote is on the mend at Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre after being knocked unconscious by a car last week — and waking up inside the vehicle.
A man struck the coyote on the highway on his way to work Wednesday, said Wildlife Haven director Dan Diawol. The driver felt bad, so he picked up the nearly 30-pound wild animal and carefully placed it next to him in the vehicle before continuing on his way to work, Diawol said.
The man went into work, leaving the still-unconscious coyote in the car for several hours as he tried to figure out what to do with it. When the man returned, the coyote was behind the wheel.
"[It] was sitting upright in the front seat of the car," said Diawol. "So obviously a bit of a scary thing for somebody."
That's when the man decided to call a conservation officer for help, Diawol said.
"At that point, the coyote had come [to] a bit and was actually sitting in the car," he said. "And rightfully so, [the man] was a little bit concerned about his safety."
The man waited a few more hours before the conservation officer arrived to contain the coyote in a kennel and bring it to Wildlife Haven to be examined and treated, Diawol said.
"It was still very dull and lethargic when it came here, so we first wanted to check and make sure there wasn't any obvious fractures, like in the legs or the hips or anything," he said.
The animal didn't have any broken bones, but it did have a few cuts — one on its face and another on one of its rear legs, likely from the impact of the collision, Diawol said. Wildlife Haven staff gave the animal pain medication and set it up in a room at the centre to wait to see how it was doing once the shock wore off.
Diawol said overall, the coyote is in good shape: clean teeth, a good coat and a healthy appetite.
"We're pretty confident this it's gonna make a full recovery and be able to be released back to the wild," he said. "I think it's just a matter of time for healing."
Don't contain large, wild animals
Diawol said it will likely take another week or so for the coyote to be well enough to be released back into its natural habitat. He said the coyote's tale is a good learning opportunity to tell people about what — and what not — to do if they come across a wild animal in need of help.
"Typically, we will ask people to contain animals that are found injured or orphaned out in the wild. And that's usually relating to small birds or small mammals, which are not usually a threat to the person that's trying to help it," he said.
"In this case, when you're talking about a larger mammal, like a coyote, or a fox, possibly, or maybe even a large eagle, they can be a little bit more dangerous."
Diawol said in those cases, the best thing to do is contact Wildlife Haven or a conservation officer for advice.
"In this case, it worked out well," he said. "But there are also cases where the animal does come out of shock and becomes quite vicious and wild."
He said some cases are more expensive than others, but on average it costs Wildlife Haven about $500 to care for an animal. This year alone, they've taken in thousands — the coyote was patient number 2,100, he said.