Stoned Coyotes – No, Not the Human Kind

By Faye Higbee

Stoned Coyotes – No, Not the Human Kind

Don’t feed the coyotes in Northern California. I mean it- don’t feed the coyotes. They’re likely stoned.

Drive-by Stare-downs

Coyotes have been acting strangely  in  West Marin County, California. Most of the time, coyotes avoid the stinky smelling vehicles of humans. But not there. They often hesitate at the sight of cars, but a mid-road stare-down and car attack is just not in character for Wile E.Coyote.

stoned coyotes

You’re getting sleepy, sleepy… coyote photo via Pinterest

The Pacific Sun wrote,

West Marin residents have lately been reporting a strange sight on Highway 1 near the Slide Ranch turnoff. It’s all the talk at Beth’s Community Kitchen in Bolinas and elsewhere: A coyote has taken to staring down automobile drivers as they drive through this twisting, turning section of highway, before attacking the car and then skulking off back into the wilderness. The coyote runs up to the cars, usually at night, forcing drivers to stop as the beast stares and sniffs around the vehicle.

The coyote “attacks” have happened a bunch of times, to enough people, to warrant calls to figure out what’s going on with the animal. Or, animals, as the latest grist out of Bolinas has it that there are now two coyotes acting a little weird, or a lot weird: Drive-by coyote stare-downs have now become part of the normative experience for a Bolinas-based individual who makes numerous nighttime airport runs every week. We are not identifying this individual, who fears retribution at the vengeful paws of these bushy-tailed beasts. He would only say, “It’s a terrifying, yet beautiful thing to behold.”

Stoned Coyotes

Authorities ruled out Rabies, as the coyotes should have died within a few days if it was that disease. Since this has been happening for weeks, they have two ideas, one is that people are feeding the coyotes. But they think that the more likely scenario is that the coyotes are eating the fly agaric mushroom, which is psychoactive.


The fly agaric “shroom” is another word for  Amanita Muscaria, a bright red mushroom with white spots. The mushroom does not have psilocybin  in it- but it does have  psychedelic  properties. It is also known as the panther mushroom, or berserker mushroom. Heed the names- and if you happen to pick the wrong one you could end up dead because it’s in the Amanita family.

Symptoms of ingesting it are:

  • A dream-like state common to lucid dreaming, which can involve out-of-body experiences and enhanced clarity of the mind.
  • Synaesthesia, where users experience a blurring of their senses, like smelling words or tasting colours.
  • A strong internal dialogue with the feeling of being able to talk yourself through personal issues (we don’t know what coyotes are talking to themselves about.)
  • Blurred vision, with dilated pupils and watery eyes, as well as a runny nose.
  • Involuntarily muscle twitching and trembling.
  • Increased sweating and saliva production.
  • Effects usually last between six and eight hours.

So there you have it. Coyotes having out-of-body experiences? Standing in the middle of the road and then attacking the cars? Amanitas can be lethal to humans. Don’t go eating any just so you can get high. Leave that to the coyotes.

As we said at the beginning: don’t feed the coyotes in Northern California.