A few middle school students were shocked to find a young coyote hanging out in a bathroom stall earlier this month.
On Monday, October 3rd, staff members from Mission Middle School in Riverside California found themselves with the strange situation on their hands. And because there has been a string of coyote attacks making headlines over the past few weeks, they called Animal Services officer Will Luna to relocate the animal.
Fortunately, the event happened early in the morning before classes had begun. So school officials were able to simply lock the bathroom and wait for help to arrive.
Animal Services released a video of the incident on YouTube that shows Luna quickly working to save the terrified coyote, which was a male estimated to be around 9 months old. The footage shows the dog cowering behind a toilet. And when Luna approaches it, it does not become aggressive. It just holds attempts to slink further behind the commode in hopes that Luna will not hurt it.
Luna used a catchpole to wrangle the animal. And luckily, the officer captured the animal without incident. After driving it to a more remote location, he released it into the wild. However, he noted that helping wild animals is becoming a tough task.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult to relocate them with all the development and new homes,” he says in the clip.
Officer Luna said he doesn’t believe the animal will return to the middle school.
The Terrified Coyote Had Been Wandering Around Town in Recent Weeks
According to Animal Service Director Erin Gettis, staff noticed the coyote, which they nicknamed “Wile E.” wandering around school grounds earlier that day. They thought they shooed it away. But instead, it ran through an open door and eventually took refuge in the bathroom.
Several people had also seen that specific dog in the area various times in recent weeks. But that was the first time it was spotted on campus.
“We are pleased that this incident was smooth and all the children were OK. And we were able to get the coyote back to its more natural habitat,” Gettis said in a news release.
Gettis used the situation as a reminder that residents of Riverside County will likely have many run-ins with coyotes and other wildlife
“There are dedicated wildlife corridors and other open spaces, such as green belts, and these are areas where animals live,” Gettis said. “Due to population adjacent to these natural, open spaces, we are going to have encounters.”