Pizza Delivery Coyote Spotted in California With Giant Slice of Pepperoni

A coyote carrying pizza in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, California. Courtesy of Russell Greaves (Greaves_Russell on Flickr)

Russell Greaves takes pictures of animals regularly near his home in Huntington Beach, California. He mostly photographs birds, but a few months ago, he witnessed a particularly enterprising coyote with a taste for fast food.

The coyote trotted down the trail, stopped and looked at the photographer, and went through some trees. When the animal came back through the trees, Greaves noticed it was carrying something.

"I thought, 'holy crap, man!' He had this big old giant pizza in his mouth!" Greaves told Newsweek. "What a way to deliver pizza!"

Greaves has seen coyotes all around the area where he was hiking, called the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. He's seen them watching squirrels, raising families and hunting. But he has never seen them carry pizza à la "Pizza Rat" (which may have been a hoax.)

Pizza Coyote
A coyote carrying pizza in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, California. Courtesy of Russell Greaves (Greaves_Russell on Flickr)

But Greaves has seen coyotes scavenging and walking closely to humans and dogs.

"Coyotes hang around back there and they're kind of immune to the people," Greaves explained about the area where he captured the photo. "They're not scared of anybody; I've seen a coyote walk five or 10 foot in front of people with dogs and they're not bothered."

Greaves likes photographing animals for his Flickr account and he said that some people in this area of Orange County like seeing them, too. But he warns that the coyotes' boldness and fearlessness among humans could be bad for both people and animals.

These wiley critters are exceptionally adept at living among humans, and many cities are home to urban coyotes. According to the Urban Coyote Research Program, coyotes try their best to avoid humans, but they're not as shy as some other wild animals. They are opportunistic feeders and will sometimes enjoy a snack of pet food or table scraps or whatever they find in the garbage.

However, coyote enthusiasts warn people not to feed wild animals. "They're too used to humans, that's the thing about these coyotes," Greaves says about the wild canines in Huntington Beach. "When they get too used to humans and they're not afraid, they're gonna attack a kid or something." Research indicates that of 142 documented coyote-on-human attacks in the U.S. and Canada between 1960 and 2006, nearly half of them occurred in the state of California.

The Urban Coyote Research Project suggests that, in order to avoid conflicts with urban and suburban coyotes, it's best to keep your pets inside or on a leash, report aggressive animals and to consider fencing and repellents. They also recommend that you don't feed the coyotes, run from them or harass them.

Greaves suspects that "Pizza Coyote" is a female, one who had pups earlier this year. But he doesn't think that she was bringing the pizza to her pups, because they're too old now and likely out hunting for themselves. "It was nearly half a pizza," he said. "This has got to be for herself."