Aggressive Coyote on Bernal Hill Charges Neighbor Walking Dog


Bernalwood has received several reports of coyote sightings in northeast Bernal Heights during the last few days, and most of them have been charming. But today, Neighbor Jeff writes about a more aggressive encounter along Bernal Heights Boulevard that took place early this morning:

Wanted to report that the coyote living on Bernal Hill attempted an attack this morning at 5:30.

I was walking my dog along Bernal Heights Boulevard when I spotted the coyote standing on the hilltop watching us. As we continued toward Folsom St., the coyote followed us along the ridge, then sprinted down the hill and charged us.

I stopped and turned to face it as it held its ground about 15 feet away.

I then started to yell at it very loudly to try and scare it off. My third yell had some success as it scampered across the road and jumped the road barrier. But then it jumped over the barrier and charged us again. This time coming up about 10 feet away from us and getting ready to pounce.

At that point, a car came down the road and conveniently scared it away.

We were very lucky.

My dog is a 130 lb Mastiff, so this would not have been easy pickings for the coyote. It was incredibly bold and aggressive.

IMAGE: Coyote on grassy slope on Alabama just below Bernal Heights Boulevard, March 8, 2016. Photo by Judy Ko.

28 thoughts on “Aggressive Coyote on Bernal Hill Charges Neighbor Walking Dog

  1. Apparently the “GO AWAY coyote” screaming isn’t working so much anymore. Probably a good idea to carry a noisemaker, air horn or if you are brave enough, a squirt gun with vinegar/water.

    Here’s some tips: (I DON’T think the mace/pepper spray is a good idea)

  2. I used to carry a small squirt bottle filled with ammonia to scare away dogs,as I walked several blocks to my car pool. It worked!!! I’d squirt a lil in front of me . Dogs would quickly go another way. Don’t know if that would work on coyotes.

  3. 130 lbs seems like a big target for a coyote. At least when the one I saw on the hill sure didn’t look like it weighed anything near 130 lbs.

    This is not to minimize the encounter. Coyotes can fight dogs and can kill smaller ones for food. The point is that encounters aren’t entirely predictable.

  4. Are there any signs posted to earn people? I’ve seen them in GG Park and Glen Canyon.

  5. A 130 lb target seems overreaching since a coyote averages <50 lbs IIRC. A nice toy squirt gun with a mix of water ammonia as strong as you can stand it should work. After that, upgrade to a .55 caliber, rocket assited, magnum.

      • Me too. A 35 pound coyote isn’t going to harm anything much bigger than a cat. If it looks bigger, it’s thick fur. Coexist. The ‘charge’ is typical defending territory behavior, just as your dog might charge at a horse to try to get it to go away. They wouldn’t get any closer than they can escape from to a medium sized dog or to a human. The thing is definitely more afraid of us than we (should be) of it. Small dogs, be careful and just pick ’em up. Other dogs leash them or your dog might kill it. They are pretty agile, most likely damage is if your dog chases it over a ledge and falls.

  6. Oh how many times, as a bicyclist, have I been charged by dogs on Bernal Heights- and bitten? Twice, actually, but neither broke the skin. After informing the owners, I let it go, because what are ya going to do, call the police and wait for eternity? Not sure how that applies to the coyote, but I say let’s let it live and put up with the occasional alleged encounters. After all, we’re a tolerant and nice bunch, supposedly.

  7. I emailed Mary Paglieri of Little Blue Society who is a noted Wildlife Behavior Ecologist and sent her the link to this post. This is her reply:
    “The coyote was most likely protecting pups that were near by. It was trying to scare away the dog – that it ran towards the dog twice shows that ensuring the safety of the pups far outweighed it’s own personal safety. This is most likely the time of day when the pups are up and about. They are out at 5:30AM when it’s quiet to avoid dogs and people. Best to give this coyote her space. Walk dogs later in the day.”

  8. The last few days I too got up early – to get a “little quiet space” at the office. At times all of us living beings need a little space. I hope she gets hers.

  9. Maybe the coyote has puppies to protect. I can imagine that a coyote would think about attacking a dog 3x’s it size with out good cause.

    • oh for sure there are pups nearby.They would come out that early while no one is around.Mama is just warning. They don’t like bells.And loud noise.I have respect for them.Just have to be careful.There is one that hangs out on Brewster and Coso.Neighbor across the st has seen her or him.So far no interactions.

  10. Ridiculous. These animals are pests and should be exterminated. But do have fun “coexisting” and let us all know how that works out. I already know.

  11. Yup this is a wild animal, a professional killer to be exact. If you think this critter is feeding itself and its pups on bernal Wack-A-Moles, you should probably join all those that think it’s impossible that Trump will be our next President. Yeah, scary stuff! Sorry to buck the trend here, I’ve seen coyotes take down full grown deer which is pretty much what our dogs are. Let your dog run around the corner in front of you early in the morning or during evening hours you really run the risk of loosing your dog. Even a large 75lb dog would be QUICKLY dispatched by a coyote. It’s entertaining to see this animal in our neighborhood but I should also have the right to walk my dog or my kid for that matter at any time of the day without the fear of losing part of my family.

    • You’ve never seen a coyote take down a full grown deer in SF though have you? We share this planet with many species and coyotes are not the only threat in the environment. You are much more likely to be injured by a speeding car or domestic dog than a coyote. Only humans can be “professional killers”. In the animal kingdom, they are known as “predators”. Big difference. Anyone with kids or dogs who walks in areas where there are coyotes needs to learn some basic & general info about these animals so they know how to react if they have an encounter.

    • Did this killer coyote have on roller-skates and an ACME rocket strapped to its back? You do realize that the Roadrunner cartoons are only loosely based on reality and should in no way be interpreted as documentary.

  12. One ought to be careful walking the hill with a toy pistol, it may spark the aggressive natural behavior of the SFPD.

  13. hmmmmm…. (these are graphic) (70+ lb pitbull attacked by coyote) (coyote attacking small dog – California) (coyote enjoying someone’s pet cat – California) (story of coyotes eating neighborhood cats)
    … it keeps going.

    Our coyote friend was in Holly Park this past Friday around 8am. Lots of people walking small dogs freaking out..

    Look, my odds of getting assaulted in the City are pretty slim, however statistics don’t make things acceptable. Coyotes are opportunist… given the right conditions, they WILL attack/kill. It’s an almost certainty that this animal has killed neighborhood pets already. The idea of sharing our environment is great, but I have to ask, who wants to volunteer their pet or potentially risk their own safety for the greater good? This animal should be removed from our neighborhood…

    • Right! So as a human with higher intelligence than a coyote, protect your cats & small dogs and do not make them accessible to predators. You can also construct escape tubes using pvc. Not bringing in and or supervising cats & small dogs when outdoors-especially at night- is careless & lazy. It’s up to pet owners to keep them safe from dangers in the environment. The coyotes are not interested in humans or children. This encounter was one canid communicating with another. Domestic dogs & coyotes share a common language.

  14. Pingback: Sharing Bernal Hill With Our Coyote: A User’s Guide | Bernalwood

  15. This is not a 30 lb. coyote. It is the size of a German Shepherd. My other half encountered it yesterday morning at the top the hill while walking our dog, and then again this morning at the corner of Rutledge and Massasoit Streets. FAR down the hill. He actually took a pic of it on his cell. If I can figure out how to put that online for you, I will. But I’m not very computer literate. I do live on Massasoit St. The pic was shot at the end of the block. We are on the north face of Bernal Hill, about halfway down the hill. I would suggest that any of you who live in area do keep your pets indoors overnight, particularly cats. We had a lot of them go missing about 6 mos. ago in this area. Then we heard about the coyote (at least I did) about 3-4 mos. ago.

Comments are closed.