Aggressive Coyotes in Northern California “High” on Mushrooms?

They’re “Tripping their tails off!”


Something odd is going on with the wildlife in Northern California.

“Whoa, I can see the music!”

Last December, we told you about a “rabid” squirrel that was responsible for at least half a dozen “attacks” on humans, including an incident that sent an elderly couple to the hospital.  Now, we’re getting news that coyotes around Stinson Beach and Bolinas are actually charging cars!  Is this the dawning of an animal apocalypse, a sinister reshuffling of the food chain?  Perhaps, but some have another (almost equally bizarre) theory: The wild canines are “tripping” on “magic” mushrooms.

According to the Pacific Sun:  A coyote has taken to staring down automobile drivers as they drive through this twisting, turning section of highway, before attacking the car and then skulking off back into the wilderness. The coyote runs up to the cars, usually at night, forcing drivers to stop as the beast stares and sniffs around the vehicle.

The coyote “attacks” have happened a bunch of times, to enough people, to warrant calls to figure out what’s going on with the animal. Or, animals, as the latest grist out of Bolinas has it that there are now two coyotes acting a little weird, or a lot weird: Drive-by coyote stare-downs have now become part of the normative experience for a Bolinas-based individual who makes numerous nighttime airport runs every week. We are not identifying this individual, who fears retribution at the vengeful paws of these bushy-tailed beasts. He would only say, “It’s a terrifying, yet beautiful thing to behold.”

While rabies was the initial suspect, these crazy coyote attacks have been going on for at least 3 weeks along California’s Highway 1; animals in the final stages of the disease (when aggression emerges) never live this long.


Don’t worry Wile E., you’ll feel better in 2 to 5 hours.

Again, from the Pacific Sun: It is possible, but not probable, that the coyote has eaten something—perhaps a fly agaric mushroom (amanita muscaria) which has hallucinogenic properties—and has subsequently been tripping its tail off. The cars would therefore be some sort of coyote vision, a dark vision of human interlopers, who must be stopped before the rents get any higher in West Marin. That would be kind of cool.

According to a related article on Raw Story: The psychedelic mushroom amanita muscaria (fly agaric) grows wild in the cow pastures of West Marin County, and coyotes have been photographed eating them. The speckled, red-capped fungus is believed to be the one Alice in Wonderland eats before she goes through the looking glass.  Amanita muscaria has a long history of shamanic use in Siberia and Northern Europe, as well as Indian and Iran, where it was once considered a sacred hallucinogen. But it’s not just Siberian shamans who have a taste for ‘shrooms; both coyotes and domestic dogs are known to eat them and, like humans, can suffer “neurological excitability.”

Sounds to me like these poor coyotes just need to chill, maybe kick back with some Grateful Dead and Bob Marley tunes (try some transcendental meditation, perhaps).  But in seriousness, this scenario certainly seems like a great jumping-off point for the next great animal horror movie.  Or would it be a horror comedy?

Trip on, my coyote brothers… just be careful around those cars!

What do you thing about this bizarre animal behavior in Northern California?  Can hallucinogenic mushrooms really be to blame?  Sound off in the Comments section!

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One Comment

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  • Matthew Myers
    4 February 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Wow, what a story! I was thinking rabies as well, but after 3 weeks it really does sound like they may be on a spirit path.