Bernal Coyote Hit By Car, But Recovers Quickly

Last Sunday, the Bernal Coyote was hit by a car on Bernal Heights Boulevard. Ack! That’s the bad news. The good news, according to San Francisco coyote-whisperer Janet Kessler, is that the coyote wasn’t badly injured. Janet tells Bernalwood:

These days the Bernal Coyote has been spending the bulk of her time hunting now instead of panhandling. She still travels up the street and still sometimes approaches cars, however much less frequently than previously. Removing the garbage and food left on the street each morning and talking to people seem to be paying off.

On Sunday a neighbor told me the coyote had been hit by a car.

I spotted the coyote on the hill and immediately noticed something wrong: Something wasn’t right with her balance, and she lay down and closed her eyes. That wasn’t normal behavior for this time of day for her. IF she lies down in the morning, her head bobs up continually as she scans the environment. But on Sunday she wasn’t doing this.

Then a dog found her and chased her and the coyote ran off as best she could, but she tumbled head over heels down the embankment with her limbs flying in all directions. Finally she reached the street and stood there. She was able to trot several hundred feet further down the road, but she was stiff, and her body kept buckling under her:

She was able to catch herself and not fall to the ground. She probably couldn’t keep trotting, possibly because of the pain, so she chose the closest safe-place around, which was up.  She made it up the cliff, wobbling and buckling at several points, but not falling. Then she settled down at the top of the hill, mostly hidden by the grasses.

We called Animal Care and Control (ACC) and they sent one person out.

That wasn’t enough to catch a coyote, so he called two more people out. Unfortunately they were not effective and the coyote ran off and was able to evade them. ACC would not try again, saying that she was *mobile* so they were going to leave it.

The next day, I saw her walking on the sidewalk and hunting by herself, She was limping a little on her back leg, but I also saw saw her leap high during her hunt. She’ll be fine. I think she is healing on her own quite well.

PHOTO: Bernal Coyote the day after the accident, courtesy of Janet Kessler from Coyote Yipps

21 thoughts on “Bernal Coyote Hit By Car, But Recovers Quickly

  1. Hi, I recently was hiking in Glen Canyon and noticed that they have several resident coyotes there. I wonder if our beloved bernal coyote might be better off in a bigger natural environment like Glen Canyon to roam in than the much smaller natural area of the Bernal hill top?

    • This coyote prob came from that group. They’ve neen reproducing for years. Land only has so much carrying capacity and these creatures have territories. Furthermore, it is illegal to move wildlife in California. See for more info

  2. it was just a matter of time. nobody drives safely, with consideration of others or stops at stop signs.
    peopla zoom up Alabama where you can’t even see them when you’re trying to turn left off Bradford and they act like you should have known they were coming. it’s the new improved 21st Century Bernal Heights– ubiquitous Uber, thumbs texting away as we drive our beloved cars oblivious to everyone and everything around us. we don’t care about other people and, other than our own precious dogs, certainly not non-humans.

    • Wow, you have a terribly pessimistic view of the world. That must be hard.

      PS. I stop at all stop signs. And I don’t text while driving. Maybe I’m OK in your book?

      • ha ha, don’t be concerned about earning my approval. yes of course that was a generalization but after decades of observing human beings pretty much consistently exhibit the most selfish, inconsiderate, oblivious behavior at every turn, i feel justified in my comments and attitude, which i consider to be realistic, not pessimistic and yes, it is hard. i’m sure it’s a lot easier to be hypocritical and in denial about everything including one’s own behavior.

    • Given all of that, it’s possible the driver of the car was driving safely and paying attention, but his/her trajectory still intersected with the trajectory of the poor cayote in a way neither of them could see coming….and the driver is now suffering too, knowing and deeply regretting that the beautiful animal was injured.

    • Aki, you need to watch some “People Are Awesome” videos or something and let some sunshine into your heart. The world is really not as terrible as you make it out to be.

  3. B.H. Boulevard is a speedway for cowboy drivers. Over the years I don’t know how many animals of all kinds have been maimed or killed. Some drivers deliberately aim for animals.

  4. I am so sorry to hear about the coyote’s injuries. I hope there’s a sign up there to watch for the coyote.
    Some people are so inconsiderate if they intentionally hurt her.

  5. Please send my gratitude to Janet. It breaks my heart to read this story and to think of the coyote in pain and limping, yet still having to hunt for food and to flee from a dog……many thanks, Laurie Salen >

  6. Was driving on the South side of Bernal Heights Blvd in the morning and saw the Coyote, stopped to look at her and snap a pic and some asshat passed me, driving REALLY fast. Don’t people even stop to think why a car would be stopped in the middle of the street before roaring around them? What if it was a pedestrian?

  7. Glad to hear it’ll be OK. I know the hilltop is a great off-leash area but disappointed to read about the dog chasing it. I’m sure the owner of that dog would also rather not have their pup tangling with a wild animal either, but c’mon people, let’s get our pets under basic voice control, eh?

  8. Excited to have a live coyote sighting on Sat while out for a run; Bernal coyote showing no lingering effects (to me) of the recent injuries.
    Also, thrilled to see Janet, the Coyote Whisperer in the vicinity. The chance encounter, confirmed my belief in the supportive, and collective community efforts to ensure safe and responsible co-existence.

  9. Most likely, the coyote has now learned that these whooshing food dispensers are really, REALLY hard and ouchy!
    She’ll most likely move a little faster away from them and their dumb-ass occupants.

  10. Poor coyote, I hope she’s going to be OK, thanks Janet for the update. I’m sure whomever hit her feels badly about it. I hit a (and killed) a raccoon in 1978 and I still feel badly about it. I was in the driver’s Ed car (what are the odds) and tried to swerve around it but the instructor pulled the car back (double steering wheels) because I was swerving us into what would have been a (deadly) head-on collision with a dump truck…..yeah, OK my parents didn’t have to bury a 16-year old daughter, but I still feel sad about the raccoon.

  11. I live around the hill and heard the coyote crying nonstop early this morning (around 6:30am). Hope she really is ok. My heart breaks for her.

  12. So sorry to hear the coyote was injured but glad to hear she is recovering. I scan the road whenever I drive around our hill, wondering if the coyote will suddenly jump out and try to cross in front of me. Once I saw her tail end disappearing over the guardrail on the south side of the hill near the community garden, and realized I need to be careful, especially at night. We can’t control the driving behavior of others, but we can be mindful of our own driving habits.

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