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Coyotes on Twin Peaks

May 9, 2011

Some of you already know there are coyotes living in the area: one, maybe two families are somewhere around in the Twin Peaks/Glen Canyon/Golden Gate Park habitats. We’d posted about it on the Sutro Forest website, here.

Today, someone on our neighborhood group described an encounter with a coyote on Twin Peaks while out running with their dogs, early in the morning… in which the coyote chased them off the hill:

I spotted a coyote running up the street…  I would stop and yell at him and tell him to go away (as if), and he would briefly stop but continued coming…..we finally got away…must be protecting his cubs.

It ended with a warning to people going up there with small unleashed dogs. (The coyote picture here isn’t of that coyote; it’s a public domain photograph.)

[ETA 25 May 2011: I personally saw a coyote a couple of days or rather, nights, later. It was around midnight, on the other side of Twin Peaks, near Panorama. Possibly the same animal.]

I’d like to refer everyone to the brilliant Coyote Yipps blog. It’s kept by Janet Kessler, the “Jane Goodall of San Francisco’s coyotes.” It minutely observes and documents the behaviour of a family of coyotes she watches (and also another family of coyotes in Los Angeles, observed by Charles Wood).

However: It also posts a warning.

More importantly, if you go with dogs into coyote areas (most open parkland in San Francisco or its surroundings):  What concerns coyotes is dogs. Here are the special guidelines for dog-walkers. (Note that the person who originated this warning did the right thing by yelling at the coyote.)

[ETA: However, Janet Kessler added in a private communication: “…it is best never to run away from a coyote, but rather to walk away slowly. Running away sparks an instinct to chase.”]

Here’s a link to a Coyote Yipps post with more detailed pointers for dog-walkers. I’d recommend them to everyone. Janet Kessler’s been watching coyotes and their interactions with people and dogs for some years now. She’s deeply knowledgeable.

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