Coyote found hiding behind toilet in school bathroom

Coyote hiding in California school bathroom
Photo credit Riverside County Animal Services

A California middle school had to call in animal control after a coyote was found hiding behind a toilet in a student bathroom.

The wild animal was seen walking around Mission Middle School in Riverside, just outside of Los Angeles, by staffers before classes began on Monday.

When the animal was approached, it ran inside the building and hid in the bathroom. Riverside County Animal Services said the bathroom was closed off until Officer Will Luna responded.

Staffers told Officer Luna the coyote had been spotted several times in recent weeks, but it had never ventured into the school grounds -- until now.

Luna found the scared coyote, a male believed to be about 9-months-old, hiding behind a toilet in a stall.

The animal, nicknamed "Wile E." as a nod to the infamous hunter of the Road Runner in Warner Bros. cartoons, was lassoed out of the bathroom and released into a rural area away from the school.

"We are pleased that this incident was smooth and all the children were OK and we were able to get the coyote back to its more natural habitat," Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. "There are dedicated wildlife corridors and other open spaces, such as green belts, and these are areas where animals live. Due to population adjacent to these natural spaces, we are going to have encounters."