Bonnie Moriarty awoke with a shock. What in the world was that noise? Her eyes eventually adjusted to the darkness, and that’s when she saw it. A wild predator had entered her house and settled down in the corner of the room, assessing her with curious eyes.
Moriarty is a dedicated mother and resident of Bixby, Oklahoma. Along with her children, she also has a pet cat and schnauzer dog. So the family household is often anything but quiet.
As an owner of both a cat and dog, Moriarty is therefore no stranger to animals. However, her encounter with an entirely different beast took her completely by surprise. And the fact this took place in the dead of night didn’t help matters.
In a September 2018 interview with CBS News, Moriarty described the experience. It was around 4:00 a.m. and a loud noise had disturbed her. At first, she couldn’t identify the source. But soon, pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
The disturbance wasn’t from the children, they were asleep in their rooms. Neither was it Moriarty’s husband, who was away on business at the time. The sounds were, in fact, animal noises, so naturally she suspected her pets were involved.
Mom Moriarty naturally assumed her cat and dog were causing the ruckus. And her first impression seemed to be correct when two shapes charged into the bedroom. They could have easily been the two pets. However, what the sleepy mother saw next made would simply add to the confusion.
Moriarty’s miniature schnauzer dog came running in the room seconds later. So what on earth was the other animal? She turned her attention to the creature that was now in the corner. Moriarty revealed her reaction to Oklahoma news station KOKI in September 2018.
“And that’s when I realized, ‘Holy crud, I’ve got a coyote stuck in my bedroom,’” Moriarty told the station. Despite their smaller stature, coyotes are related to gray, red and eastern wolves. In recent years, though, they have become more urbanized for several reasons.
Coyotes are gifted at adapting to their hunting grounds, and urban groups of them are less frightened of humans. In addition, people feeding them – either accidentally or on purpose – also encourages their presence. Unfortunately, this is potentially dangerous behavior for both humans and their pets.
Livestock are common prey to coyotes, but they also target smaller animals like cats. They might even see dogs as potential prey, especially if the coyote is a particularly bold individual. And while attacks on humans are relatively rare, they aren’t unheard of.
Coyotes aren’t often capable of inflicting lethal injuries. Only two recorded human fatalities have occurred in the United States and Canada: Californian three-year-old Kelly Keen, and 19-year-old Taylor Mitchell from Nova Scotia. However, there is some contention over whether some of these are attacks were indeed committed by coyotes.
To be more accurate, coyotes sometimes interbreed with wolves, creating offspring known as coywolves. Genetic researchers believe it could be these animals, rather than purebred coyotes, that are the offenders. Regardless, it’s always important to use caution around animals that could cause a human harm.
In Moriarty’s case, several issues beyond her own personal safety concerned her. One was her pets, who were now sharing a house with a wild coyote. The other was her sleeping children, and these worries sparked panic.
With this in mind, she picked up a nearby golf club as a precaution. Moriarty told KOKI she worried as her “poor kids are upstairs, and I’m screaming.” To add to the chaos, the pet schnauzer didn’t take too kindly to the intruder. To show its displeasure, the dog barked madly at the coyote.
As for the coyote, it seemed quite timid. Indeed, it made no move to escape or attack at all, instead choosing to crouch quietly in the corner. Moriarty then shut the door and called the Bixby Police Department, who arrived shortly after to catch the animal.
Moriarty then described how officers arrived, armed with animal catcher poles to remove the intruder. “So, I had three policemen in my bedroom trying to get the coyote out,” she told the Effingham Daily News. In an enclosed space, a successful catch was only a matter of time.
The officers managed to get the catcher pole loops around the coyote’s neck and gently evicted it. Then they released the misplaced creature into the wild, where it belonged. The question is, though, how did it get inside in the first place?
Mom Moriarty believes she knows the answer: she didn’t draw the bolt across her backdoor. She told KOKI, “He somehow just lunged at the door, and [it] opened.” She also added that she thinks the coyote chased the cat inside.
Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. No animals were harmed, and the coyote went back to its natural habitat. In this case, the poor creature seemed just as confused as Moriarty herself. But her experience is a good cautionary tale about making sure to keep your doors shut at night.
The Humane Society of the United States advises against encouraging urban coyotes. It suggests making loud noises to deter the animals, or using non-harmful deterrents such as water guns on them. It also advises to keep pets indoors and to store garbage in wildlife-proof containers to prevent attracting the animals.