This Week’s Creature Feature

Fifty feet away, just where open land tumbled into kudzu, a large, shaggy, mottled, gray canine was devouring the carcass of some small animal.

Certainly not a fox, which are the size of cats or lapdogs.

Nor a wolf. Wolves are not resident in Maryland, according to Harry Spiker, Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ man on big furbearing mammals.

Likely it was a coyote. In Fairhaven.

“We’ve got coyotes statewide,” Spiker told me. “They’re good at not being seen, and they’re around people more than people think.”

This one was the visible exception, Spiker explained, because it was probably a hungry yearling focused on its meal.

The young coyote was likely alone, and my sighting pure luck. With a range of miles, Spiker said, “if he was here yesterday, he’ll be gone today. They’re nomads.”

That’s probably for the better. The Natural Resources website notes that when coyotes move in, they don’t make popular neighbors. They’d likely eat the neighbors’ chickens — come to think of it, I haven’t heard any cockadoodledoos lately — then cats and small dogs.