Reminder: Please Do NOT Feed the Bernal Hill Coyote


This week Neighbor Rachel noticed that someone has been leaving dog food out for our coyote neighbor who lives around Bernal Hill.

We saw the coyote eating the dog food. It was on the southern side of the hill. I was in my car watching, and a runner came by and we both watched him eat. Argh!

Photo evidence:



Argh, indeed. That’s not good.

Please take a moment to re-read the comprehensive Guide to Sharing Bernal Hill With Our Coyote, where you find this admonition:

Please don’t feed the Bernal coyote. Feeding breaks down the barrier that keeps coyotes wild. If they become food-conditioned — which is different from “habituation” — big problems can develop, including approaching people, which increases the chances for negative incidents to occur. Feeding coyotes also encourages them to hang around yards, where people don’t want them.

To feed the coyote is to create additional risk for the coyote and increase the chances that our co-habitation of shared urban spaces will end badly. Please, please, do not feed the Bernal coyote.

PHOTOS: Photos, and photo annotations, courtesy of Neighbor Rachel

34 thoughts on “Reminder: Please Do NOT Feed the Bernal Hill Coyote

  1. Aargh! This feeding will increase the population very quickly and then the coyotes will be vilified when they inevitably come in contact with dogs, kids or coyotephobes. Just not good!!

  2. There have been a couple of incidents where the coyote has been playing with my dog-taking turns chasing each other. Should I not allow this?

    • No, you should not allow your dog to play or come close to the coyote. The goal is for them to stay wild which means not habituating or trying to tame the coyote. For us to coexist, dogs and coyotes need to have a healthy wariness of each other. The more familiar coyotes become, as explained in the admonition not to feed them, the greater the potential for conflicts between coyotes and people, coyotes and our pets.

      • That ship already sailed – she likes socializing with dogs and she’s comfortable around the dogs’ human attendants.

    • There was another post about this a few months back — the coyote is more likely stalking your dog and trying to figure out how to make him a nice snack than “playing.”

    • my dog chased the coyote around the hill this morning, She never interacts with strange dogs, and usually avoids all of them on the hill, but some instinct seemed to take over, and after a few moments of staring at the coyote, she chased her all over the southeast side of the hill and across bernal heights blvd to the bushes on the otherside, then up the hill again, until the coyote went down the steep northern slopes. Twas kind of beautifully strange to watch.

      • Your dog running across Bernal Heights Blvd was beautifully strange to watch? Your dog flushing wildlife was a good thing in this narrative?

      • Actually, his dog chasing the coyote isn’t a horrible thing. Whether this coyote adapts or fails to adapt, it must happen in response to the existing environment, which is a densely populated urban environment complete with dogs and cars..

        Racoons have successfully adapted. Coyotes? That’s an experiment in progress…

  3. Yikes! To be fair, probably whoever is doing this thinks that a well fed coyote will not kill cats. But as someone said, feeding any wild animal just increases their population. That’s what’s wrong with feeding stray cats if it’s not combined with getting them fixed. They start going into heat like crazy.

  4. I was walking on Telegraph Hill recently and there are “Coyote Alert” signs with instructions on what to do and not do wrt coyotes. Perhaps we can request Park and Rec to post some signs in our neighborhood? Does anyone here know how to accomplish that?

      • But we need more Judge. There are still a couple of spots on the Hill where one can admire the view without seeing a big ugly warning sign.


        “WARNING: Warning Signs Ahead! Walking into warning signs may cause temporary disorientation and nasal trauma, including blood loss. Proceed with caution!”

      • what big ugly warning sign…there is a small sigh that is sitting across the lower gate for Bernal. As Steve Martin once said…this guy hates signs

  5. +1 please don’t feed the coyotes!!! As a child, I was bitten by a coyote and had to endure painful series of rabies shots. They are wild creatures, fine to admire from afar but not cool to habituate them to people and domestic animals. So irresponsible and dangerous for the entire community.

  6. I for one don’t appreciate the underlying anti-coyote gentrification tone found in this article. Anti-coyote kibble? Anti-coyote? anti coyotaje? anyone? Doesn’t take a leap of faith to see what’s happening here. For shame, Bernalwood.

    • The coyotes are the gentrifers.

      They only started reappearing after 2000. Before that the last sighting within city limits was in 1925.

      • Repatriating their native home territory and doing their best to exist in balance with the local natural ecosystem is hardly gentrification.

      • Neil. I’d say you need a climate of gentrification to allow coyotes to repopulate the area.

        The reason they stayed away from San Francisco since 1925 was that people shot them as pests.

        A gentrified city tolerates them, the non-gentrified city of the past did not.

  7. So, what are the coyotes eating on Bernal Hill? If people are concerned they don’t have something to eat, then someone should advise on what they are eating and if this is sufficient.

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