Jan 29, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Magic Mushrooms May Turn Coyotes Into Stoned Car Chasers

With that spaced-out look on his face and stars floating around his head after being fooled once again by a fake tunnel opening, you might think Wile E. Coyote may have been munching on magic mushrooms before flipping through the latest Acme catalog for roadrunner-catching contraptions. Now it looks like it’s a good possibility as drivers in Bolinas, California, report being chased by coyotes acting strangely after romping in areas with a bumper crop of 'shrooms. Should coyotes be added to the growing list of animals who like psychedelic drugs?

It’s a terrifying, yet beautiful thing to behold.


That quote’s not from a tripping coyote but from an unnamed witness who has seen the coyotes staring down approaching cars, running in front to make them stop, then circling the vehicle and sniffing it before strolling back into the woods. According to a report in the Pacific Sun, this has been happening frequently for weeks. Does that sound like a stoned coyote to you?

Because it’s been going on for so long, Lisa Bloch of the Marin Humane Society ruled out rabies, which would have killed the infected coyotes by now. She agrees that it could definitely be psilocybin-induced behavior since fly agaric mushrooms (amanita muscaria) are abundant in the area and local vets see plenty of pets who have ingested them.

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Is this making the coyotes act strangely?

There are some animals that purposely seek out magic mushrooms and other psychedelic plants for food and fun. Reindeer are well-known to be mushroom eaters and this may have contributed to the story of Santa’s flying fleet. Elephants in west Central Africa favor the psychedelic bark of the root of the iboga plant (Tabernanthe iboga) for visions of floating like Dumbo. Capuchin monkeys in South America and lemurs in Madagascar eat a certain kind of millipede for the psychedelic secretion it squirts out when agitated … like when it’s being eaten. Unfortunately, the secretion also contains cyanide, so the monkeys are living dangerously. Sound familiar?

Are the Bolinas coyotes using their Acme shovels to dig magic mushrooms? While it’s possible, Lisa Bloch says they could also just be begging for food as a result of people throwing it out of their cars. That’s not good for their diet nor for the safety of humans without food and could contribute to the animals ending up as road kill.

Let’s hope the coyotes stick to eating the 'shrooms and then romping through the woods chasing imaginary roadrunners.

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Mushroom season is over?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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