Coyote pupping season has begun!
Ok, these fluffy coyote pups are undeniably cute. But when coyote pupping season begins in San Francisco, it’s especially important to be cautious and not take any chances with the protective coyote moms!
Golden Gate Park just welcomed a litter of 7 baby coyotes, which were photographed at the Botanical Gardens. San Francisco Recreation and Parks requests the public’s help in protecting both the pups and themselves by keeping a safe distance, leashing their dogs, and not feeding the coyotes or any other park animals. They have also placed signage in the area to warn the public of an active coyote den.
It may be easy to forget when looking at these little fur balls, but coyotes are predatory wild animals that pose a threat to household pets and even children. According to National Geographic, they can run up to 40 miles an hour and have keen senses of sight and smell. Coyote populations have exploded across North America and exist throughout many urban cities in California. New litters of coyotes in the spring are usually ready to hunt by the fall.
San Francisco, like much of California, is home to some significant coyote populations. They are often found in the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. In fact, the Presidio has an entire page on their website dedicated to their coyote population, having tagged and tracked the animals throughout the area. The Presidio preemptively closed sections of the Park Trail and the Bay Area Ridge Trail to dog walking on April 5 during coyote denning, which they expect to occur somewhere in the golf course. Dogs must always be leashed anywhere in the Presidio and Golden Gate Park.
According to the Presidio, the best course of action when encountering a coyote in the wild is the following:
- If you have a dog with you: Quickly leave the area, but do not run. If the coyote follows, you should “haze” it by being big, loud, and throwing small objects to scare it (not to injure). If you encounter one during pupping season in the spring and fall, hazing may not work. Your best chance is to back away slowly and leave as quickly as possible.
- If you do not have a dog with you: If the coyote is within 50 feet and does not leave on its own, be big, loud, and aggressive. Wave your arms, yell in a deep voice, throw small objects to scare it away (not to injure or harm), and maintain eye contact.
Remember to follow signage in any park, and be especially astute during coyote pupping season in the spring and fall. It’s important to play a part in reducing coyote/dog conflict, and maintain coyotes’ fear of humans, so as to keep everyone safe.
[Featured image: @sfrecpark via Instagram]