Lo-Down Ankole Watusi Holler Life-

The Holler is really a Holler and not only for the birds.

It is for low-down, on the ground, critter life as well. Meet the new, free range calf.


And, meet the guys who are overly fond of new free range calves.

We were quite done with watching the coyotes prey on the defenseless calves, and the cowboy intermittently shoot the coyotes.

This approach solved nothing.

The cowboy who grazes the free range cattle on the 1200 acre state-owned nature preserve that abuts The Holler, finally came up with a creative solution.

You know I value creativity. It is why I love bloggers so much!

Anyhoo, meet the new juvenile Ankole-Watusi bull. Imagine how big he is gonna be when he is all “growed” up!

These are African free range cattle that grow horns up to eight feet from tip to tip. At night, in Africa, when predators are active, the Ankole adults place the calves in the center, while the adults, and their eight foot horns defend the perimeter through intimidation. They are highly protective of calves and able to repel African predators. These cattle can subsist in drought conditions with low water and feed.

They are currently interbred in Europe and North America and, and news to me, The Holler. I had no idea of the Ankole solution until my telephoto saw them, and I sent it straight from my camera, to your eyes!

I am grateful to my camera because Ankole can be quite aggressive towards humans. If my camera hadn’t alerted me to their presence, I would still be hiking in the preserve, not expecting an ambush by potentially aggressive African bulls!
The coyotes are now in a state of détente. When the Ankoles lower their horns in the coyotes direction, off the coyotes trot. Coyotes regulate their estrus and birth cycles in accordance with environmental conditions. They are intelligent and adaptable. As they are able to kill less calves, they will limit their birth rates, and subsist on rodents.
Of course the poor squirrels have no say in this matter, but at least they can run fast into their extensive burrows.

Cheers to you from the still wild, and almost natural, Holler~
For more than you probably ever want to know about the Ankole-Watusi check out: http://edventures.phoenixzoo.org/pdf/animalFactSheets/watusiCattle.pdf

260 thoughts on “Lo-Down Ankole Watusi Holler Life-

  1. Oh Cindy, those photos are magnificent! How far away from the coyotes were you? I live in an area heavily populated with them and they really scare me. People can’t have outdoor cats here because they don’t last; we’ve even had people walking their dogs when the coyotes run out. They are very brave–but we’re moving in on their territory…You are amazing with that camera. Thank you!

    1. I will have lived at The Holler for eight years in June of this year. We have packs and packs of coyotes. I was terrified of coyotes when I first moved in and really stupid about them. I have lived and learned and we now co-exist. I am no longer terrified of them, but I am wary of them. This is the same with the rattlesnakes, I was initally terrified. I am no longer, but I am careful. I carry bear spray when I am out of the fences at The Holler. This relaxes me. I also wear rattlesnake boots which also relaxes me. Coyotes will take cats, small dogs, and even larger dogs if they are desperate. No small dog or solo dog is safe outside The Holler without back up. Coyotes have attacked people but it is rare. This is why I have the spray. I have never had to use it, but it gives me confidence. I have surprised many coyotes on my walkabouts. They always are afraid and run away. Only one or two has looked directly at me. They do vary in their personalities just like humans. I would keep your dogs on a leash, your cats inside, and if you are ill at ease, consider bear spray for confidence. It is doubtful that you will ever need to use it. I hope this helps. It took me a long while to wise up!

      1. Oh thank you for that, Cindy! I’m going to get some spray to carry. Thank goodness I no longer live near rattlesnakes–I did in Montana. They’d curl up and sleep in the outhouse (yes that’s what we used back then) and I was always afraid. I’m so glad you’ve learned to cohabitate with all your wildlife so you can take the photos!

  2. I am imagining the size of Ankole-Watusi bull droppings and then you being chased by one of those giant horned beasts with camera bobbing. It’s just how my mind works. I can’t control it. And now my laptop is bouncing from my laughter. May your boots be Ankole-Watusi bull free forever!

    1. Now I am cracking up, in this scenario stepping in Ankole-Watusi bull-sh** would be the least of my concerns!! I wonder if my bear spray would work on a Ankole_Watusi? It would probably just irritate them immensely. Laughing…..You are hilarious, and awesome! <3

      1. Stepping in the wrong place might be the end of my shoes! My hubby stepped in a smelly place and his shoe has been on our back step for months! He will never face it. And I will never face it for him. LOL

  3. Good grief, would’ve been nice if your neighbour had given you a heads up on the giant bull with the pointy horns. Glad you hadn’t ventured across it’s path.

    It’s weird that he’s crazing them on State land. Is that normal down there? All your photo’s are really gorgeous, as usual. We’ve got Urban Coyotes that hang in the river valley around Edmonton. I’ve seen them casually walk across the park near our home. They’re not threatened by much except ‘Fish & Wildlife Officers’ who may try to relocated a troublesome pair. Your Coyote looks plenty well fed, that’s for sure. Ours are usually very thin and scruffy looking.

    Good luck cute little cafe! You’ll be glad to know I’m vegetarian and would never eat you! I’m no coyote! LOL

    1. Yeah, I had the same thought about the cowboy. Thanks for the heads up dude! That would really get me exercised, in more ways than one, if I was tearing pell-mell across the plains being chased by the Ankole-Watusi! Cracking up….I probably wouldn’t even stop for a photo, and that is saying A LOT!! I am kinda stoked they are there. I am thinking of future photo ops….. Plus, who knows what else the cowboy might come up with??? My enquiring mind wants to know, hopefully before I meet it in a field! You are hilarious. Love you~

  4. I think those sweet white calves are innocent and defenseless. ♡ I hope those horned Ankole-watusi critters will scare away from coyotes. Also, neighbors should inform neighbors. Your posts are always full of excitement, Cindy. 🙂

    1. Yeah, neighbors should inform neighbors. There is a guy nearby who allegedly has a private zoo. I hear tell he had a tiger that got out years ago. I never got a call saying, “Hey be on the look out, our tiger got out…”
      The nerve of some people! 😉 😉

      1. The nerves of some people, Cindy! I meant to say I hope that big horned ankole-watusi scares off the coyote. I bet you could read between my lines! 🙂 (hugs) ♡
        Never a dull moment in the holler, Cindy!

  5. Thank you for these remarkable captures, Cindy! So glad you stay safe while taking these photos in the wild field! I admire you! Be careful.

    1. It is so funny. There is a woman from South Africa who owns a lavendar farm near The Holler. When I met her she told me how much she likes The Holler because “it looks just like South Africa.” (It does by the way). I wonder what she’ll do when she’s driving down her lane and the Ankoke- Watusi break through the fence. The regular cattle do this all them time, so I am sure the Ankole will too. She will really feel at home! Laughing……..
      Once the cattle made it all the way to the highway. Now that would be a predicament wouldn’t it? African cattle with eight foot horns on the highway!

  6. What a great solution! The photos are remarkable, especially those of the coyotes. Two of them ran across my back yard last year, mid-day, about 20 feet from our pool, where I was swimming. Here they have interbred with wolves.

    1. I have heard about the commonality in DNA, much closer that orginally thought, between wolves and coyotes. The big bold ones do remind me of wolves and sometimes are hard to tell apart. I have a friend nearby who has wolves. It is amazing to hear the wolves howl at the coyotes. When they start the coyotes completely shut-up. It is the only thing I have seen that is capable of making coyotes stop howling instantly! Their DNA is hardwired to recognize WOLF. I have no idea why the coyotes ran by you in your pool. Maybe they were thinking of a swim???? 😉

      1. Interesting the wolves have that power with their howls. In NC, the wolves are actually afraid of the coyotes! The coyotes are very brazen – they have approached people out on walks and need to be dealt with by loud yelling to scare them away. They are beautiful animals despite their menace. We have taken to bringing our outdoor cat inside between 4:30 PM and 8 AM so he doesn’t become one of their meals!

      2. Yes, I have seen them take a cat mid-day. And yes, I watched a video of several coyotes harrassing a wolf in Wyomming who was guarding his kill. The coyotes eventually won and the wolf gave up his kill. I understand that wolves do not like coyotes. They are gorgeous creatures, and it is not fair for people to hate them because they are so intelligent, so adaptable and so able to survive. I was guilty of being terrified of them when I first moved here. Now I am wary and careful which is more rational.

    1. I am careful. There is a woman who walks alone out here at night. She thinks the coyotes are her friends. I gave her bear spray, in case, I told her, “they turn out to be frenemies.” She should never walk alone out here at night. I don’t even walk outside our fence with someone here at night. Coyotes are the Lords of the Holler at night.

      1. Yes and if they can take down my 200 pound deer no one is safe from being part of the food chain silly lady friends is crazy my turkeys here are wild but can still kick the crap out of me if they decide to attack 🙁 I just remember to toss out seed I am held hostage at this point.

  7. Awesome, informative post. Thanks very much. I learn something new everyday.

    Lots of deer, coyote, red-tailed hawks, and other wild critters near my home. I go for regular walks, and each specie greets me in their own peculiar way. One doe went out of her way to check me out. I got into a face-to-face stare-down with a coyote who either stumbled upon me by accident or was deliberately following me. Without acting aggressively, I let it know that I wasn’t afraid. When it assumed a defensive stance, I gave it room to leave – which it did very quickly. Another time a cottontail hopped along side me as I walked. It actually seemed kinda friendly.

    1. I am glad there are people who live with wild animals and understand. Their body language is similar to humans and tells you what they want you to do or not do. I notice this even more with my camera, as I see so many animals watching me even at great zoom distances. When we walk, the hummingbirds often follow to see what we’re up to, the Black Phoebe that sleeps every night under our back porch also flies along and poses and I have the clicks to prove it, and of course the roadrunner runs along hidden in the brush but always watching. Animals are very curious about people they live with in isolated rural settings. I never expected anything like this when I moved here from suburbia, and I love it immensely. I can tell you do too.

  8. Aww that calf is so precious! Bringing older Ankole-Watusi bulls into the mix is the perfect idea, since living in a herd that can protect calves is their natural way of life anyhow. 🙂 And yeah, those horns make quite an impression! Wonderful solution! ~Lynn

    1. I love this idea! We had reached the end of our tether with the situation and this seems to be working! Yay!! It is quite clever and creative too and I have to hand it to the cowboy to have thought of it.

  9. Our caribou and moose have massive antlers, but they’re more like hat racks than piercing horns. It’s good to see the use of nature to treat a problem of nature, though I do wonder about transplanting and breeding from one continent to another. Stay safe, Cindy, O paparazza of creatures great and small !

  10. Wow for a great creative solution Cindy 😀 It is wonderful to do all more natural, even the bull’s habitat is different. Beautiful photos and now you need to take more care, when you walk around Cindy.

  11. Everything about this set of photographs is practically perfect: the landscape, the animals, the story you tell and the quality of the photography. An inspiring post.

    1. There is something about looking a coyote in the eye that is different than any other creature I have seen. It seems like very active dislike, which is no surprise considering how many of their family members have been shot by humans.

    1. The one is the last photo is smiling at you! This is the ticket. I just need to figure out how to make the Ankoles smile at me and serenity will be restored in Hollerdom! 😉 😉

  12. Now those are horns, Cindy. I’d be minding my Ps&Qs too. Around here ranchers sometimes throw in a llama or two, who are known to kick the stuffing out of coyotes. Sheep dinner is taken off the coyote’s menu. –Curt

    1. Llamas and donkey do not tolerate coyotes. The cowboy really should get some donkeys. I have seen donkeys pursue coyotes with a purple vengance! You know, I could get some donkeys. I love donkeys and I don’t care if I make an ass of myself. I’m retired. 😉

  13. Very Interesting post and amazing photos, must be wonderful to live so close to nature though as magnificent as they are, I would not care to meet up with any bull while hiking.

    1. Discovering the Ankole-Watusi was like something out of a cheesy novel. I saw them with telephoto and google image searched, “skinny cows with large thick horns.” I saw the Ankole in about the thirthieth image. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Cheers you dear Sally and have a wonderful week my friend~ <3

  14. Cindy, it is so brilliant to be able to experience life at the Holler ‘through the lens’ – thank you so much. I feel as if we can be part of the family! cheers to you 🙂

    1. You are! You are part of the blogging family. We go on trips together. We share pictures and stories of our homes, we share our deepest thougths, our art, our feelings. A friend did a post yesterday saying, “I love my computer. My friends are in it!” This is it exactly! So welcome to my blogging family. It has the nicest people! 😉 <3

  15. Amazing photos! You do live in a fascinating place. Those do look like well nourished coyotes – not like the slinky, skinny ones we have. I’m surprised they have cattle grazing on a preserve.

    1. The preserve was established about four years ago as an environmental mitigation by the state of California. It is set up in perpetuity as a nature preserve, but is still in the process of being transferred to a non-profit organization for management. I am hoping The Nature Conservancy will manage it. They manage the nearby Santa Rosa Plateau which is in a volcano caldera and the plateau has grazing cattle. The people who live around the plateau police it very effectively as volunteers. The one thing I know that will not be tolerated is any form of animal shooting in the preserve.

  16. I too like creative and natural solutions to such things in well…nature. As always, thank you Cindy for taking me on another adventure. Awesome photos!

    1. I am really quite pleased and surprised. Once I figured out what the Ankole were, the beauty of the plan hit home. It provides a way to protect the calves while not harming the coyotes. Nice!

  17. Those coyotes are definitely wily critters. A few years back a young coy dog tried to adopt me. Every time I was in the garden, he quit his hunting in the field and would come visit me. He seemed to think he was more dog than coyote — I had to keep telling him that no way was my kitty going to like him coming to live with us. After a few weeks, of my going in the house every time he came near, he finally moved on. 😀 I love the photo of the calf — how cute is he.<3

    1. Coydogs are pretty remarkable. We had one out here too that I desperately wanted to adopt. He lived in a sort of limbo, not accepted by the packs or domestic dogs, just a lonely, lone ranger. They are handsome, intelligent animals.

  18. Cindy, I’m so impressed by the clarity in your photos, especially the ones of the calf, the coyote, and the squirrel! And what a great natural solution to what could be a big problem. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    1. I will be truly happy if everyday goes by without a sobbing mama cow who lost her calf or the angry retort of the cowboy’s gun as he shoots a coyote. I am hopeful this is going to work.

    1. It is pretty special, especially considering it is in Southern California with nary a strip mall or suburb anywhere. It is like rural California 50 years ago before all the development. Thankfully it is being preserved!

  19. That is a wonderful solution! Everyone (every animal) needs to eat, but now there is no indiscriminate shooting. Reminds me of a local farm that uses alpacas and pigs as “guard dogs.”

    1. Llamas, alpacas, donkeys, kuvasz, and other herd protecting dogs, are all potential solutions but the Ankole-Watusi has some plus’s, they can interbreed yielding calves that will be more capable of self defense. They are drought and low graze tolerant which is necessary here in the land the El Nino forgot. They are extemely hardy and disease tolerant. They also can jump and run unlike domestic cattle which should be interesting considering the barbed wire fences which I doubt will provide any obstacle to them. I am sure there will be more unanticipated side effects too. There always are.

    1. It is as new to me as it is to you. I clicked the pics, google imaged them, identified the Ankoles, researched them a bit, and did the post. I like the idea so far, but we shall see how it plays out.

    1. The Holler was a steep learning curve for me. I had to learn to live with rattlesnakes, black widows, scorpions, coyotes and now Ankole-Watusi. I love it all!!! Well, actually, I don’t love the black widows and scorpions at all……

    1. When you coming over Antionette, to meet the coyotes, the roadrunners, the Ankole-Watusi and of course your favorite, the hummers????? They are waiting to meet you! <3 <3

  20. Cindy, your beautiful photos are such a delight to look at, and your commentary always so informative. The Ankole-Watusi bull must have been a sight to see with those horns.

  21. Beautiful photos, Cindy, as always. I like the creative solution of the Ankole bull. Co-existing with wildlife and using alternative strategies is something that I hope becomes more accepted as our world shrinks.

    1. I love that I live next to Ankole-Watusi. Maybe I can get a good pic of them for this years Christmas card. Happy Holidays to you from The Holler & the Ankole-Watusi! 😉 😉

  22. I love how there are solutions without killing if we only take a moment to research and ask. Here the llamas protect the sheep and goats quite effectively. Beautiful photos. Those bulls are amazing with their giant horns 🙂

    1. Yes, llamas and donkeys are both good solutions. It is wonderful to see animals with protective instincts, which unfortunately are too often lacking in certain human beings! I read a study where labratory rats saved other rats from confinement. They had empathy and were protective. What a concept!! <3

      1. I don’t think it’s comfortable to humans to think that animals care…or love, heavens forbid. Perhaps the day is coming when we learn that animals are just like us except they don’t speak our language.

  23. I really like the story and details you tell us along with these amazing pictures! Wow I felt scared for you when I saw that coyote! What a photo of a beautiful creature! They sure had a great solution there, 8 feet long? That is a huge force to worry about! Very interesting as always Cindy!

  24. That is a fascinating look at your Holler and the surrounding environment. Do you have any fences to keep those very aggressive looking Ankole-Watusi bulls out of your part of the Holler? That is a very pro-active way of protecting those cute calves. Mother nature is so clever, limiting the birth rates to the conditions. Kangaroos do that too, the foetus can stay dormant for a long time waiting for the suitable conditions to start the birth cycle.

    1. That is amazing, I was just reading about some female animals that are reproducing without males and they are not frogs! Mother Nature is ingenious and yes we do have fences but I doubt they are sufficient for Ankole Wastuses! Life is always interesting~

  25. That last picture portrayed a slice of heaven, Cuz….., and that bull, well, that’s a lotta bull ! Those coyotes just look way too well fed. The only ones I’ve seen have seen have looked scrawny and thin. They are intelligent animals though, maybe smarter than some humans I know ! Hugs !

    1. You would like The Holler cuz, but many people woudn’t, too rurual, too isolated, not enough people to chat with. Me, I like chatting with the birds just fine, and who knows, maybe I’ll find a way to chat up the Ankole too!

      1. I’m sure I’d like it too, Cindy. I like quiet places that haven’t been overrun and ruined by the crowds. I’ve always loved the mountains, and the seashore away from the buildings and beaches crowded with people. Unspoiled nature has a way of bringing peace to the soul. Hugs !

  26. arrayofletter

    Thanks for new coyotes posting. Great pics 🙂
    Just a thought!
    Do cowboys gaze the cattle, or the ankolewatusiboys are who gaze.

      1. arrayofletter

        There are also similarities to Ludwig Hartmann’s painting. Hartmann has depicted the life of “German Cowboys”

  27. Es una información muy interesante. Y es que la naturaleza nos da soluciones para los problemas, sólo hace falta poner la imaginación a trabajar. Me encantan las fotos. Un abrazo, amiga. <3

  28. Liebe Cindy das sind ja wieder traumhafte Fotos einfach nur schön danke dir für diese Fotos hab einen schönen Mittwoch mit vielen lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

  29. How fascinating and formidable are those Ankole! Had not heard of them before. And such a creative solution. Your Holler is an amazing place and, as always, your photography is wonderful!

  30. Liebe Cindy hab noch mal deine wunderschönen Fotos betrachtet sie sind einfach unbeschreiblich schön ,auf dem Foto hatten die Wölfe bei ihrer Jagd Erfolg gehabt ? Hab eine gute Nacht mit ganz vielen lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

  31. Liebe Cindy hab noch mal deine wunderschönen Fotos betrachtet sie sind einfach unbeschreiblich schön ,auf dem Foto hatten die Kojoten bei ihrer Jagd Erfolg gehabt ? Hab eine gute Nacht mit ganz vielen lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

    1. I am glad the fun comes through because taking photos for me is like playing was when I was a child. Thanks so much for the very thoughtful comments & cheers to you my friend~

      1. I often think about what we really learned in school about the animals closest to us. In the forest as well the domestic ones. So, I agree with you.

  32. Sounds like an interesting answer to a predatory problem. In Spain they suggest the big mastin dogs against the wolves. The dogs are usually very friendly with humans and I think it is very much their size which puts wolves off preying on lambs. Great info and will follow the link too.

    1. Yes, many wonderful dog breeds are herd protective and coyote defensive, Kuavaz, Great Pyrenees, there are many such. I suspect the cowboy doesn’t have time to care for them.

  33. I think it is not safe out there for me when I see the coyote, he might see me as a snack 😀
    Beautiful pictures again, Cindy. We just love the little calf. Pawkisses for a Happy Weekend 🙂 <3

    1. Yes, coyotes, especially in large packs, are nothing to be trifled with and definitely not kitty-kat or calf friendly so if you visit The Holler, you must stay indoors!

  34. That caff was cute. Reminded me of the White goat my grandparents had, it was like a pet for my mother and uncle when they where kids. One day the goat was gone….while my mother ate a great meal wich didn´t come very often she asked my grandma about the goat to which she responded ” Do you like the food?” My mother said all happy since it was good and abundant “yes!!” To this day she has trouble thinking she was eating her beloved goat…..what a story that came out of nowhere, but a true one.
    Anyways, nice pics as always.

    1. That seems like quite a insensitive thing for a mother to do to her child. I can see why just the telling of the story stuck with you and I also can well imagine how upsetting this memory is for your mom.

      1. I know, Cindy! This was after the Spanish Civil war when they got by with bread and some butter at the most, see where I´m going. It was survival. Now we talk about it jokingly though, now a days we don´t do that but that was another time, real harsh times. So if old grandma didn´t kill that thing, as lovely as it was, her children would be starving. I don´t think that in those situations people are going to be very sensitive about eating animals really. Now we do have that luxury but not then.

    1. Gosh, blogging is a joy and doesn’t take up too much time. Once, I had a real job as a mental health director and therapist. Now that was hard work! This is just pleasure~

  35. They’re *all* gorgeous, including of course those handsome coyotes! I *finally* saw a coyote around here recently, but it looked far less robust and glossy—a much weedier character! Still, I was happy to see one, since I’m sure that the rampant-if-not-rapacious suburban growth in the DFW area is antithetical to coyote happiness, never mind the ranchers’ anti-critter mindset in TX generally.

    As for the cattle, Watusis really caught my attention first in a surprisingly suburban setting as well, since there was a big, magnificent Watusi bull who lived and lounged in his own showcase pasture not far from where we lived some years ago, surrounded by houses and such. He seemed not to mind that his kingdom was so circumscribed, as long as he was still king. And I was very happy to stop by the fence and just admire him once in a while!

    Happy 2016, dear Cindy!

    1. Oh my, what a small world it truly is! How marvelous you had an Ankole for a neighbior! I can’t wait until these guys grow up. I want to get some photos of thoses 8 ft horns! I imagine your coyote has to be especially wiley to survive in Texas because I know they are not much liked there, or anywhere for that matter. I had to live with them to learn to respect them. Still I would not try and pet one! 😉 😉

    1. Free range cattle are my next door neighbors and I have learned so much about them. They are socially bonded, communal, they actively grieve when a cow dies. They are far more intellgent, curious and emotional that I was taught growing up. They make very good neighbors.

    1. Yes they are well fed out here! I actually had a coyote come up to me yesterday like a dog . I was grateful to be in my car and I spoke to him. They are mysterious creatures.

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