Bugs, Coyotes, and Lions on the L.A. River: Fact or Fiction?

Lion on the River.jpg

Since the channelization of the Los Angeles River after the tragic flood of 1938, the concrete encased waterway has become the backdrop to a collective imaginary. The L.A. River has played itself in hundreds of productions, making itself known to the world through the reach of Hollywood's mighty tentacles even though many Angeleno's have never actually dipped their toes in its waters. As some of you might have heard, river activity is on the rise -- from lion(!) and coyote sightings, to a recreation zone planned for the summer of 2013.

In this review we go over a list of L.A. River sightings and events, and ask you to be the judge, critically assessing whether this river happening is fact or fiction.

Story continues below

1. The Largest Bug In the L.A. River
We've received reports that the river is home to one of the largest "bugs" in the world. A hybrid aquatic/land species that emits a bizarre noise while moving at top speed. The following video may be too graphic for those who suffer from entomophobia:


2. Kayakers On the River
This summer the river is slated to become a recreation zone offering designated areas for fishing and kayaking. In fact, some Angeleno's have been using the river as a transportation zone. Here's a video of George Wolfe commuting to work:


3. Lions On the L.A. River
For years now Reality T.V. has reigned over the media landscape. The hazy line between fact and fiction has been rendered invisible by this ultra addictive genre. If you need any convincing of this fact, behold the magical musing's of Urban Tarzan on the L.A. River:


4. Coyotes Spotted in the L.A. River
The Coyote is an emblematic animal of the West. They get a bad reputation in Los Angeles due to their interest in eating small pets. It is wise to remember that they were here first after all, and, that it is possible to live in harmony with our native coyotes:

A recent snapshot of a coyote on an island in the L.A. River. Photo by Cosme Fregoso

A recent snapshot of a coyote on an island in the L.A. River. Photo by Cosme Fregoso


5. The L.A. River Plays Itself
We all can recall the roaring echoes of Grease Lightning. However, the L.A. River has served as a fantastical industrial set piece to many a forgotten production. Here's a review of celluloid history on the river, enjoy:


We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading

Full Episodes