The coyote that lives on Bernal Hill had a close call last week, after a domesticated dog decided to chase her. The ensuing scene was so loud and chaotic that several readers wrote to tell Bernalwood about it, so we in turn reached out to San Francisco coyote-whisperer Janet Kessler to see if he had any information about the incident.
Providentially, Janet was on the scene when the dog chased the Bernal Coyote, and Janet shared this report:
The coyote had just spent a few moments on a peaceful grassy perch where she was observing the urban world as she knew it: the large city below and the dog walkers on and off the trails of a grassy park higher up. She got up to wander around the hillside when suddenly a dog caught sight of her and was after her in a flash — it was a large, golden retriever-like dog.
The coyote ran lickety-split away from the dog, into the street with the dog right at her heels. In the street, of course, both coyote and dog are endangered by traffic, but fortunately cars were sparse at that moment. Having flown across the street, the coyote dashed into the thicket on the other side of the street. Thickets serve as harborage for our wild coyotes, especially from dogs and people. It’s where they can rest and relax without being seen, and when the thickets are impenetrable, coyotes feel safe. Dogs usually can’t, or have difficulty, venturing into these thickets, so the dog remained on the street where the owner was able to grab it.
In the thicket, with her eyes glued in the direction of the dog, the little coyote vented her distress. She remained there and screeched her heart out for 20 minutes, looking over her shoulder now and then as dogs, people and loud traffic moved by on the next street. This is what she sounded like:
When she was done, she got up and walked away. I followed the coyote to make sure she wasn’t injured. I knew the dog hadn’t reached her, so she would have no injuries from his/her mouth. It wasn’t an “attack” but simply a harrowing “pursuit”. Still, I’ve seen coyotes injured in the past as they fled pursuing dogs. One such coyote limped for days, having twisted or injured an ankle or wrist in its hurry to get away. Luckily, the Bernal coyote displayed no signs of any injuries.
I also spoke to a dog-walker, Patrice, who said she had witnessed two motor scooters pursuing this same little coyote up and down the streets several weeks ago. It must have been another harrowing experience for the coyote. Did these humans not know how cruel they were being? What might be considered fun and games for us and our dogs is actually a matter of life and death for this little coyote. Please help stop this kind of activity whenever you notice it!
PHOTO AND VIDEO: Courtesy of Janet Kessler from Coyote Yipps