SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A man and his son scooting along a trail at the Golden Gate Park were given a surprising reminder that they share the space with many, many others.

Like 14 raccoons — and a coyote.

Marc Estoque told KRON4 he and his son were at the trail next to North Lake when they came across 14 raccoons.

Credit: Marc Estoque

“Never seen that before,” Estoque’s son said in a video of the encounter with the group of bushy-tailed creatures, staring them down. And then he whispers:

“Dad. A coyote.”

Sure enough, the camera pans to a coyote lurking just a few feet from the path behind some trees. But it seems it was there for the raccoons — the National Park Service says coyotes help regulate the number of small rodents, skunks and raccoons.

“Coyotes in Golden Gate National Parks can be found in close proximity to human development,” NPS says on its website.

As we enjoy the trails and all that the outdoors has to offer while we’re avoiding indoor spaces during the pandemic, seeing wildlife is part of the experience.

The NPS has some guidelines to keep safe from scary scenarios with wildlife:

  • Do not feed wildlife. 
  • Maintain a safe distance. 
  • Whether it’s just you or 10 people, keep the long distance. As crowds gather, wildlife can quickly feel threatened and, in their panic, harm people
  • Calling, clicking, whistling or making noises of any kind to attract wildlife is illegal. The real joy is in seeing these animals in the wild, not in interacting with them.
  • Do enjoy the beauty and special experience of watching wildlife in their natural habitat!

Estoque, his son and their dog were able to leave the area safely.

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