Bolinas, CA (TFC) Eyebrows were raised after numerous reports of highway trotting coyote’s staring down oncoming traffic were reported near San Francisco. Normally skittish, the canids proved aggressive in some cases, attracting broader scientific curiosity. What they found was– dare we declare–startlingly hilarious.
Residents of two pacific coastal communities, Stinson Beach and Bolinas, were unnerved after a coyote took on a risky hobby. Whereas the creature should avoid speeding cars, it opted to instead run right up, unafraid, multiple times. Although some claimed coyote’s “attacked” cars, these are likely exaggerated reports of unusually bold canids.
According to International Business Times, after causing drivers to stop by staring down their vehicles, the “snapping and sniffing” coyote ran at cars, then retreated. Once a second coyote exhibiting the same behavior, Marin Humane Society launched an investigation.
The group was quick to rule out rabies, as the fast acting virus kills hosts within a week. With coyote “attacks”, according to the Pacific Sun, exceeding three, researchers suggested an..unconventional suspect. Amanita Muscaria, more commonly known as the Fly Agaric Mushroom, is renowned and venerated for one thing–it’s psychedelic properties. Simply put, these coyotes may have been consuming as of yet unspecified quantities of a potent variety of magic mushroom. Gotta dig nature, man.
Determining how or why the coyote’s consumed psychedelic mushrooms reaped some frustrating scenarios for humane society workers. Perhaps the animals obtained shroom’s naturally, as dog owners are often warned of poisonous fungus. Some theorized, Pacific Sun reports, that they’d been fed the mushrooms by people, given their apparent fearlessness.
Marin Humane Society, like others nationwide, plays a key role in identifying and then dealing with problem animal populations. Once possibly dangerous critters, like bears, coyotes, wolves, even raccoons, lose their fear of people conflicts can swiftly arise. Settling these clashes often ends in animals being relocated or killed, what of our mushroom munchers though?
Most people today are at least familiar with the term “magic mushroom”, but as recently as the 50’s the opposite truth held. It came at the cusp of the 60’s, and the psychedelic-propelled cultural tectonic shift which followed. Mention of the humble mushroom, however, was largely overshadowed by the ventures of LSD at the time.
Contrary to western naivety, indigenous cultures have utilized psilocybin, Amanita, and other visionary mushrooms for centuries. Amanita Muscaria is, however, known for being a bit harder to “work with” than psilocybin. Some scholars have even speculated that Vikings may have used Fly Agaric before battle. War-ready Vikings, emboldened coyote’s, there’s overlap but really who knows what the creature’s experience is like.
These are all human reactions, and a coyote’s trip is scarcely imaginable. Fortunately, no one has been harmed, meaning researchers may shy away from containing the animals and skip right to the fun stuff. What are the short term and long term consequences of coyote consumption of the sacred cap? Does this small population already exhibit observable differences with other populations nearby?
The late psychonaut and linguist Terence Mckenna once entertained scientific minds with his “stoned ape theory”. Mckenna speculated that consumption of psychedelic mushrooms by our distant ancestors possibly influenced the rapid evolution of the human brain. Could Marin Humane Society workers be within the perimeter of a “stoned coyote theory”? One can never guess regarding symbiotic relationships operational in realms where our ideologies scarcely dare tread.