Coyote Becomes a Familiar Neighbor on Bernal Hill


Sightings of the coyote who lives on Bernal Hill have become a routine occurrence, and with increasing frequency comes a growing sense of familiarity. No longer an exotic new arrival, many Bernal residents now regard the coyote as just another neighbor.

Neighbor Doug  describes an experience with the coyote last week:

We came upon the coyote at the upper gate of Bernal Hill at 5:55 AM, and he followed us down past the lower gate almost to the big intersection on the east end of the hill (almost 15 minutes later). He tried playing with my dogs almost the whole way, frequently bounding up within 10 ft. of us. He REALLY wanted to play.

Neighbor Doug also shared this video of the encounter:

34 thoughts on “Coyote Becomes a Familiar Neighbor on Bernal Hill

  1. It would seem the coyote is getting way too comfortable on the hill. He doesn’t appear fearful of dogs or people. Has anyone discussed this situation with animal control. While i don’t want the animal necessarily removed from Bernal, for the well-being of the Coyote it might be appropriate to discuss with wild animal experts.

    • Peter Salkowski – it’s by tiny little ‘concerns’ like the ones you mention here that humanity is completing its Manifest Destiny to dominate and replace all habitat with a much more concerning and dangerous predator. I would suggest perspective in this case and let this coyote alone. And please stop with the insincerity that it’s better for the coyote. He’s here because people here are kinder and tolerant, and he’d leave if he was scared. Let’s try something different from the rest of humanity, something less predictable and perhaps we’ll get better results than what humanity is getting in its headlong rush for self-extermination!

    • The authorities will do one of two things. Leave the coyote in place, or kill it if it is deemed a threat. They do not relocate coyotes.

      2007-07-16 11:49:00 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Two coyotes believed to have attacked a pair of leashed dogs in Golden Gate Park on Saturday were shot and killed Sunday night by officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      The state’s department of Fish and Game decided to destroy the animals after investigating the situation and determining there was a significant public safety risk, Deb Campbell of Animal Care and Control said today.
      Kyle Orr, a spokesman for Fish and Game, said the animals — a male and a female — were shot around 10:30 p.m. within 100 feet of where the dogs had been attacked. Officials cannot be completely sure they were the same animals, he said, but the pair’s proximity to the attack site led them to believe that they were the same coyotes.
      The attack occurred about 9 a.m. Saturday, when a woman was walking her two large dogs along a path just south of Speedway Meadow near a large pile of mulch. Two coyotes bit one of the dogs, inflicting minor injuries, and lunged at the other, according to city animal control officials. On Sunday, a female dog-walker said two coyotes followed her in the same area, authorities said.

  2. I’m nowhere near an expert, but I’ve heard that coyotes will sometimes attempt to “play” with dogs to lure them to a place they can be attacked. I don’t know if that’s true, but I sure wouldn’t take the chance with my dogs, and if I had cats I wouldn’t let them out near the hill. I also wouldn’t want the coyote harmed, but it may be best if it were relocated.

    • Unfed, that sounds more like a description of the species that’s telling the story. They don’t have the guile to plot against our dogs. Animals are way more predictable than humans. It probably just wants to have fun!

      • Vernon— it is common knowledge that coyotes in packs will routinely lure solo dogs in for “play” and then kill. If this is a solo coyote, maybe not an issue. But don’t anthropomorphize please

  3. The coyote does not want to play with your dog. It wants to eat your dog, speaking from experience. My dog was killed by a coyote inside my fenced backyard in Santa Barbara in broad daylight. Coyotes are way smarter than domestic dogs and very, very wily. They will act like they want to play, they will act wounded. Just trying to save someone the heartbreak I went through.

    • Video is up above, two dogs on lead, coyote taunting and trying to get dogs to chase him.

  4. The coyote does not want to play with your dog. The coyote wants to eat your dog. My dog was killed by a coyote inside my fenced yard during broad daylight in Santa Barbara. Coyotes are wild animals and they are way, way smarter than your domesticated dog. They will act like they want to play, they may act wounded, they have many tricks. Cats aren’t safe either. I’m just trying to save someone the heartbreak I went through.

  5. I encourage everyone with questions to look up the Urban Coyote Project. It is not the case that coyotes lure dogs away to attack them, for example, nor is it necessarily necessary for them to be ‘afraid’ of humans for us all to live quite happily together.

    • Going to respectfully disagree with you here. This coyote is a wild animal; it’s not a friendly “dog.” As others have stated, if it so chooses, it could kill a dog in an instant, or gravely wound one.

      I wish we had a real expert here to talk about this. Todd, maybe we can have an animal control person weigh in on another blog post sometime soon? To explain to folks what we should really do in this situation? I don’t want a dog, the coyote, or a human to be injured because we’re getting a little too comfortable seeing her in the neighborhood. Ultimately, I hope there’s a way we can all cohabitate, but it’s looking less likely.

  6. It was wondering why the heck we still have not relocated this wild animal from an urban setting with pets and small children to it’s natural habitat. But of course! San Francisco. Everyone wants to hug the coyote instead of tranquilizing it and moving it to a safer place.

    • Janet Kessler anthropomorphizes these animals and practically stalks them all over SF, especially Glen Canyon. Now we see her on Bernal, when we’re walking our dogs. She gets way too close and stays too close. Giving her attention or adopting her perceptions of these creatures is not the way to go.

      Better sources:
      SF Animal Care and Control
      Project Coyote
      Wild Care

      I love coyotes. I believe we can co-exist. Folks like Janet Kessler take it a step too far when they name them and portend to speak for them.

      • Janet Kessler has years of animal observation experience. She moves extremely quietly, does not feed coyotes (and discourages others from doing so) and does not tame them.

        She names them because she can tell them apart and this allows her to observe family dynamics, individual life histories, even genealogies. This is an accepted technique – Jane Goodall did the same when observing chimpanzees. I’m sorry you feel so negatively about one of the best wildlife observers we have in the city, perhaps the state.

        But the other sources you mention are also good for practical advice. They all say the same thing: Don’t feed; Don’t get close and scare off coyotes that come too close; Keep your dogs leashed and your cats safe.

  7. Here is advice from the Coyote Project:

    Do not feed the coyotes
    Do not let pets run loose or be unattended
    Do not run from a coyote
    Repellents or fencing may help
    Report aggressive, fearless coyotes immediately
    Do not create conflict where it does not exist

    Can’t we just all get along…

  8. The coyote ran right in front of our car at the intersection of Alabama and Ripley then headed east on Ripley. So watch your pets even and drive carefully.

  9. There is a very sad back story to the coyotes shot in Golden Gate Park, one that didn’t get the same news coverage that the shooting did. Turns out a human was feeding the coyotes, many people would “watch the show” when the feeder’s van rolled up. Feeding is the quickest way for a wild animal to loose fear of humans.
    PLEASE resist the urge to feed the coyotes – for all beings safety.

    • Feeding coyotes is a problem. As I understand it that’s what helped them get established in Glenn Park.

  10. I guess per the experts this coyote is not fearful of humans and so we should leash our dogs. So Bernal Hill, one of the last off lease areas in SF, is now verboten.

  11. Seems to me I’m seeing more “missing cat” bills posted around the neighborhood in recent weeks. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  12. I for one am keeping my goats in the house at night and taking my cats to the San Mateo rifle range.

  13. I cringe reading this. The coyote does NOT want to play with the dogs. This is a common hunting tactic. They do this to lure the dog away from its human and then they attack. No coyote wants to play, they want to eat. You must chase the coyote away. That is best for people and pets AND for the coyote. Wave your arms above your head, look it right in the eye, and run straight at it without breaking eye contact. It will take off. I was taught this by Project Coyote after my cat was killed. At this time of year, they have pups to feed. They want to kill your dogs. Wild animals habituated to people end up dead.

  14. Coyotes cannot be relocated. Killing them does not work, since it removes the dominant coyote family from the territory and draws in others who want to compete for the space. I’m sorry about your cat, Janet. It’s devastating to lose a pet. Coyotes *do* want to play, and they play among themselves, and young coyotes will sometimes befriend dogs. But it’s a bad idea. It’s best for humans and their pets not to get drawn in. It’s bad for the coyotes and for the pets.

Comments are closed.