Though habitually reclusive, a lack of both vehicle and foot traffic continues to embolden coyotes to take to San Francisco's desolate streets and beaches — occasionally howling and cackling into the night.
Mother Nature reclaiming her clear skies and blue waters has grown into something of a viral meme — "The earth is healing. We are the virus." The air around Los Angeles is crisp; dolphins are playing in Venice; brown bears are living their best damn lives in Yosemite. But here in San Francisco, the circle of life has taken on a different rotational spin: coyotes are happily exploring a city void of visible people.
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shelter-in-place has brought out the wildlife in the bay area. this coyote noticed some whale bones on the beach at kirby cove and trotted down to investigate. she didn’t seem to mind me hanging out just 30 feet away. i’m glad i live within biking distance of the golden gate bridge during this lockdown, it’s been incredible exploring the marin headlands without the crowds. . . . . #sanfrancisco #kirbycove #goldengatebridge #coyote #onlyinsf #wildcalifornia #sanfranciscoworld #sanfranciscobay #sanfranciscolove #bayarea #sanfranciscobayarea #igerssf #nbcbayarea #ktvu #abc7now #sfgate #sfchronicle #bayareabuzz @sf_insta @sfbucketlist @sfgate @sfweekly
Not only are these forty-pound-something canines dueling for dominance in the Presidio, but they've also taken to our quiet streets with confidence and swagger. (ABC7 captured one of the brazen quadrupeds creeping up on a leashed dog, just before getting spooked and scurrying off into the distance.)
The past two weeks alone have demonstrated their shyness is waning. Footage of a gaggle of North Beach coyotes howling at night emerged on social media, a jaw-dropping still of one feasting on a carcass at Kirby Cove became an Instagram sensation, and other tweeted urban run-ins prove these animals, though demure by nature, are unquestionably keen on exploring new terra firma — sans human contact.
As reported by ABC7, SF resident Nick Delia shared a video of coyotes “talking” in the intersection of Greenwich and Powell Streets, saying the "craziest part" was hearing them howl before adding the coyotes "usually just keep moving and stay away from humans."
Nature photographer Scott Oller had a similar walk on the wild side, though his stroll was a tad more Instagram-worthy. "She didn't seem to mind me hanging out just 30 feet away," Oller writes on Instagram, captioning the picture he took of a single individual standing on the beach at Kirby Cove, consuming a bit of washed-up meat. "I'm glad I live within biking distance of the golden gate bridge during this lockdown. It's been incredible exploring the Marin Headlands without the crowds."
Similar, slightly more urban sightings of coyotes in SF have plumed on Twitter, as well.
Oh you know...just a coyote chillin’ and strollin’ along Battery Street in San Francisco this morning. I thought I was dreaming on my way into work. 👀 pic.twitter.com/skRnPXWoG4— Len Kiese (@LenKieseKPIX) April 16, 2020
Came across a coyote when going on a walk yesterday (Buena Vista park in San Francisco) pic.twitter.com/5iA0v4AV5R— leaf @ itch.io 🙌 (@moonscript) April 12, 2020
As always: don’t offer coyotes food; don’t throw things at them nor abuse them in any sort of way; don't be an ass-hat to them, and they'll happily leave you alone.
Odds are they're more scared of you than you are of them... however that's not to say don't take precautions. Keep your pets on short leashes, bring a flashlight with you on nightly jaunts, holster a bottle of pepper spray to use as a last resort.
And, all things considered, at least we're not dealing with lounging lions resting leisurely along our roadways.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
📸Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
Image: Unsplash via Kiran Sagar