Coyotes Staring Down Drivers May Be Stoned
They may have consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2016 10:22 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2016 7:07 AM CST
A coyote, possibly on the lookout for 'shrooms.   (AP Photo/Daily Inter Lake, Karen Nichols, File)

(Newser) – In Canada, coyotes build snowmen. In Marin County, Calif., they get high on mushrooms—or so it seems. At least one and possibly two coyotes have been spotted acting a bit oddly along Highway 1 near Bolinas, reports Pacific Sun. Residents describe an animal forcing nighttime drivers to stop on the twisting highway, staring them down, and attacking their vehicles before taking flight. One resident who's made several trips along the road says it's "a terrifying, yet beautiful thing to behold." So what's up with the coyote, or coyotes? One theory being floated is that the animals are eating hallucinogenic mushrooms that grow in the area, resulting in coyotes "vision questing their way into interactions with drivers," per SFist.com. Lisa Bloch of the Marin Humane Society says she can't rule it out and has been warning dog owners recently about the 'shrooms.

"We are trying to figure this out," she says. Rabies isn't likely to blame because the disease typically fuels aggression in coyotes a week or so before causing death, and these incidents have been going on for several weeks. There's not many studies out there about the "psychedelic effects" of mushrooms on canines, but the animals are known to get "especially excitable," which jibes with the descriptions of the coyotes' behavior, reports OutdoorHub. Another option is that a coyote was fed by people, perhaps from a car, and is now looking for more food. The problem is "if they are not afraid of us, they come close to our cars, get hit, fight with domestic dogs, and can possibly become aggressive," says Bloch, strongly discouraging people from feeding the animals. (Think coyotes are scary? Meet the coywolf.)
 

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