Playtime and Fun For a Coyote Mated Pair

At the crack of dawn (with no light, I’m surprised these photos are even readable), this mated coyote pair, which has been together for a year now,  broke out into into a giggle-wiggle play session: they chased each other, lept over and onto each other, sparred playfully, and smiled a lot. They knew how to enjoy themselves thoroughly in and in-between-the-raindrops that fell that day. This is an almost 4-year old male and an almost 3 year old female who really like each other. They may be incorporating this intense play into their current courting behavior, but truth-be-told, they’ve been playing like this for the entire year-and-a-half they’ve been together! Coyotes know how to have fun! This video along with these photos were taken a month ago, at the beginning of January.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Febre
    Feb 10, 2021 @ 00:19:39

    Omg! I think this is my favorite post EVER! I’m just giggling with joy over this!


  2. MelindaH
    Feb 10, 2021 @ 01:37:53

    OMG—-they are hilarious!! Found myself laughing and giggling while I watched. The video made my week!


  3. Jo Thompson
    Feb 10, 2021 @ 13:18:14

    May we each/all have such happiness in our lives.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 10, 2021 @ 20:51:20

      That’s a wonderful thought! Everyone needs a large dose of it now and then. But I don’t think this carefree happiness ever lasts forever. Reality includes the downs in addition to the ups. These two coyotes hadn’t been this way before they settled on their vast territory: they have something to celebrate at this point in their lives. Maybe that’s why they’re happy: they seem to be in their element. I watched another insanely happy coyote pulled down to the pits and spend six months of her life fleeing an angry pursuer. The relentless attacker eventually gave up. The pursued coyote never regained her previous happy-go-lucky playfulness. Then she became a mom in the urban landscape of cars, dogs, and people — these are all hazardous entities. Watching out for the safety of one’s family is a full-time occupation. She’s busy — and I would say therefore happy — but no longer overflows with play the way she had. But she owned that state of mind for many years. :))

  4. Alice Chan
    Feb 11, 2021 @ 00:29:47

    This post was SO much fun!!


  5. Hannah
    Feb 12, 2021 @ 03:20:04

    What are the tags (?) on the collared one’s ears? More tracking devices?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 03:34:24

      Hi Hannah — Unfortunately, yes. I’ve written extensively about the detrimental effects of radio-collars and tagging on this blog and in my Instagram account: Note that one of her ears has been compromised because of an infection — and when those in charge were told about it, they informed me they could do nothing about it. Anyway, if you are interested, read the blog post and the links therein to the Instagram postings and comments. Janet

    • Hannah
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 19:51:39

      What would you suggest as an alternative to collars and ear tags in order to track animals for research purposes?

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 19:57:54

      Hi Hannah — What kind of research are you talking about? Please read my blog: it’s chalk full of any information you might want to find out about coyotes, including family life, vocalizations, dispersals, breeding, interactions with pets and people. You name it, it’s probably there. I did not use collars or tags. :)) Right now I’m engaged in a population study of San Francisco coyotes: I’ve used simple observation to define about two dozen families and some of their dispersals and re-formation of new families. Hard-data to confirm this is coming from DNA extracted from scat. Janet

  6. Dean Neniska
    Feb 12, 2021 @ 09:40:27

    Why the collar? Who put that on one?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 12, 2021 @ 19:52:46

      Hi Dean — You might want to see my reply to Hannah in the comment above. The City of San Francisco doesn’t use these devices, but the Presidio, which is federally run, does: it’s the 2.4 square mile park in the northwest of the city. The results they’ve obtained are a map of the criscrossings the coyotes engage in — as if we didn’t know this to begin with. The gadgets have not increased knowledge of the coyotes nor improved their management. Management can only be accomplished through educating the public to keep away from them — it’s so easy to do: if you see a coyote, leash up and walk the other way.

      I am vehemently against collaring and tagging: it is invasive and interfering and doesn’t help the coyotes — it simply pings location now and then to a scientist. Tagging can result in infections, as you see in the ear of the collared coyote in my video.

      I believe the Presidio applied these gadgets to make the public think they were doing SOMETHING about the coyotes — it was in answer to fear some people were expressing. But in the end, it’s the education that was needed and STILL is needed. Other people believe that collaring/tagging helps the coyotes. They believe that if it’s in the name of science, it must be good. But science is not the same as animal welfare: as we know, many animals have been sacrificed to science — the information scientists want is more important to them than the animals.

      Anyway, I won’t go on and on, but please do take a look at what I wrote Hannah and the link I included in that comment. Thank you for being concerned about it. You should be. Feel free to voice your concern to the Presidio Trust of San Francisco.

  7. Kas strait
    Jun 12, 2022 @ 20:20:03

    Can anyone tell me what the intenti9ns were of a coyote who played like this with my pit bull? I was in a gated school field So my dog can get off leash run time.I knew coyotes lived in the area because we see them walking around our neighborhood everyday, but they dont bother people. I scanned the field didnt see any coyotes so let my dog off leash..My pit bull LOVES I mean LOOOOOVES to run. I think hes a horse inside the body of a pocket pit. So he just books it running laps and out of the trees , a coyote jumps out like 5 feet in front of him, and then turns to start running. My dog chased it around the field and up the stairs to the school. Then the coyote would turn around then chase my dog and They did this back and fourth for A whole 20 min. I was scared to death for my dog at first , but it kinda subsided because I noticed there were a few times my dog couldve grabbed the coyote and vice versa ,but whenever one dog would slow down so would the other , so it seemed like they werent really trying to catch and attack the other. The only reason they stopped chasing one another was because my dog ran himself to the point he couldnt breathe and started throwing up. He collapsed on the grass and the coyote stopped and walked up to him slowly with it’s head down, then just sat down like 2 feet away from my dog, while they both had to catch their breathe. Thats when I was able to get my dog on leash. As I closed in on my dog the coyote refused to look over in our direction. Whenever I movee to be in the line of sight of the coyote , ilt kept turning its head. LIKE IT REFUSED TO LOOK AT ME .i took that as her trying to communicate ” I dont want any problems , I want nothing to do with you” after I let them sit there for 5 minites I made my dog get up and we left. The coyote poked its head up like ” where u going?” and then dropped its head down on its paws looking disappointed. So does anyone know or have opinions on what the intentions of the coyote may have been? DO u think this was a trick to get my dog attacked ,To lure him to an area where its buddies can tag team on my dog? Was this coyote hoping to take down my dog but then got to tired from running from my dog for the first 5 min? Or was this coyote doing what it appeared to me it was doing? T9 me it looked like they both were enjoying each other’s company and were high energy playing and having fun.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jun 13, 2022 @ 05:45:41

      Hi Kas —

      Yes, I know what was going on. First, thank you for your wonderfully detailed description — I have a pretty clear picture of the event. The coyote was not *playing* with your dog, he was actually just keeping away from your dog and wearing your dog out. I’ve seen this behavior before, as here:, and another instance where the coyote led two dogs up and down a steep embankment until the dogs were so tired they collapsed, tongues sticking out, panting excessively. Coyotes are light and lithe and because of this they have much more sprinting power than do wolves or even dogs and they know this. If you go to the contents of this blog:, and scroll down to DOG/COYOTE BEHAVIOR you’ll see a lot of articles about exactly what you have described. And yes, not eyeing you is an indication that they don’t want a confrontation. Coyotes seldom want confrontations — after all, they weigh only about 30 to 35 pound — you are much bigger than they are. The coyote’s behavior was not a trick to get your dog attacked, rather, the coyote was probably just trying to get your dog out of the area in a roundabout way. This is pupping season. The coyote may have been a youngster yearling. Hope this helps? Let me know! Janet

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