Motorists in Northern California have been dealing with a new kind of road hazard: Overly aggressive coyotes who may have consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Pacific Sun reports that at least two coyotes have been staring down motorists on Highway 1 in Bolinas, a community in Marin County, and striding onto the road. When a driver stops to avoid hitting them, the coyotes usually sniff around the car before running off.
Experts have ruled out rabies, the paper reports, as the incidents have been going on for weeks and the disease would have killed the coyotes by now.
That leaves two other options: Either the animals are ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms and tripping as they chase cars, or they have been fed by people in cars and are hoping for more food.
Lisa Bloch of the Marin Humane Society said she has had to warn dog owners about the fly agaric mushroom, a psychoactive mushroom that grows in the area. These coyotes may have stumbled on a stash.
Bloch also warned that motorists shouldn’t feed coyotes as the animals could become accustomed to humans, then grow more aggressive. In such cases, the coyotes may have to be killed.