"Terrifying Yet Beautiful" California Coyotes High on Mushrooms

You feed a coyote to understanding.


People in the coastal community of Bolinas in Marin County, California, say a coyote, possibly high on mushrooms, is attacking people.

In two cases, a car traveling on the twisting concrete of Highway 1 comes across a coyote that appears in the night to confront them. The cars idle while the sleek beast sniffs at their tires. Is it to pass judgment? In cold pursuit of food? Out of their furry gourds on potent hallucinogenic mushrooms? The coyote’s way is the way of indifferent chaos and murder, and we cannot know.

It’s very likely the ‘shrooms though.

“It’s a terrifying, yet beautiful thing to behold,” one driver told Pacific Sun on condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution, and, perhaps, some desolate inner truth.

Experts have ruled out rabies even as they regard the behavior across an admitted gulf of mystery. It could not be a virus, as the attacks have gone on longer than an infected animal could survive.

Science has failed us.  

“We are trying to figure this out,” Lisa Bloch, director of marketing and communications for the Marin Humane Society told reporters, tacitly exposing herself to her deepest fear that reality is receding into the grey haze of memory.

Magic: Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita

Amanita_muscaria_3_vliegenzwammen_op_rij.jpg: Onderwijsgek derivative work: Ak ccm [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (], via Wikimedia Commons

As much as we can know a thing, we can know that the area now besotted by coyotes is also home to the fly agaric mushroom, a wild fungus which residents are repeatedly warned against eating due to its hallucinogenic properties.

Or the drivers, infatuated by an impossible dream of kinship, might have been feeding coyotes from their cars.

“One possibility is that the coyote has been fed, and this is a real problem for us in Marin,” Bloch says. “It’s possible that someone was feeding him and thinking that it’s cool, and magical and mystical to have a coyote eating out of his hand.”

There are things known and unknown, and between are the yawning jaws of the wild.

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