Coyotes are making themselves at home in San Francisco as social distancing keeps streets clear and open. 

Shelter-in-place orders do not apply to wildlife, and in San Francisco, coyotes are making themselves comfortable out and about. With little to no people around, the coyotes have free rein and can explore areas they might not otherwise get to. The animals are experiencing greater freedom in the city than its people.

So far, most folks who happen to cross paths with them are out for a little exercise and end up with a story and a great photo/video opportunity.

According to the San Francisco Department of the Environment, coyotes are also known as the North American Song Dog and lived freely in the bay area until the middle 1900s. Regulations and efforts to control the populations and kick them out of the city, local farms, and other populated areas included the use of poison bait. That practice has been stopped over the last few decades, and the coyotes have begun to come back to the area. The animal is largely nocturnal, opting to come out when most people and their dogs are inside and asleep.

Coyotes play an integral role in the natural world, according to Camilla Fox, a representative nonprofit group Project Coyote.

“Coyotes are critical components to our city’s local ecosystem. They have essentially replaced the role of other predators like wolves and can have a positive impact on the ecosystem by benefitting ecological integrity and species diversity,” says Fox. “For example, coyotes help keep rodent populations in check by eating gophers, squirrels, and rats. More rodent-eating predators on the landscape like coyotes and birds of prey means less rodenticides and other deadly poisons that kill non-target animals.”

The animals are also likely enjoying looking for food in places they normally don’t get to access. San Francisco Department of the Environment points out that the open spaces and parks are where coyotes live, and it's the start of pupping season, so we may see some little ones around soon too. It's also important to remember not to approach the animals, they are wild, so it's best just to take a picture/video and move along.

Check out more of these amazing pictures and videos of the coyotes wandering through the city of San Francisco:

Coyotes going back to san francisco from r/coyote

We have seen posts from all over the world of animals wandering through the streets and cities as we humans are hunkered down at home. What are your favorites so far? Share any wildlife and animal sighting pictures you have taken during these shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders in the comments.