Virtually harmless coyotes out and about in city parks 

Urban coyotes living in The City are starting to emerge from their dens with the onset of pupping season. But wildlife experts say there’s little reason to be concerned.

Because the pups are usually born in mid-April and start roaming the streets about five weeks later, there’s a better chance of seeing one now, said Alex Picavet, Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman.

Local wildlife and park officials are trying to help residents learn how to coexist with the usually docile animals — commonly found in the Presidio, Glen Park, Diamond Heights and Twin Peaks — since they are rarely, if ever, a threat.

“It is perfectly normal to see a coyote cut through a backyard. And if they are seeing that, they should just be feeling very lucky that they’re seeing wildlife in an urban setting,” Picavet said. She said coyotes only lunge at humans if they feel threatened.

But that doesn’t mean the shock factor goes away if one is spotted.

The coyote “didn’t look like he was too fazed by being around humans,” said Gideon Rubin, who recently saw three of the animals on separate occasions in the Richmond district — his first sighting after 20 or so years of living in The City. “I was mostly intrigued ... [but the third one] looked to be more filled out and had a menacing look, like he wasn’t out there to make friends.”

San Francisco Animal Care and Control Lt. Le-Ellis Brown said in his 14 years of working with The City’s animal emergency dispatch, he’s never seen or heard of one harming people.

“We do, however, try to encourage people, especially during pupping season, to have their dogs on a leash because the parents tend to be protective,” Brown said.

How to handle coyote encounters

Some tips to cut down on human-coyote conflicts:

  • Do not feed coyotes
  • Secure garbage containers
  • Feed pets indoors whenever possible
  • Don’t leave small children unattended outside if coyotes have been frequenting area
  • Don’t allow pets to run free
  • Keep pets indoors at night
  • Walk dogs on leash and accompany pet outside, especially at night
  • If you start seeing coyotes around home or property, chase them away by shouting, making loud noises or throwing rocks

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture


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