Are coyote sightings becoming more common in central NC?

Wake County News

Coyotes are no stranger to North Carolina.

However, several recent reports of sightings had many wondering if sightings in neighborhoods are trending upward.

“Oh my goodness. Oh my,” Seline said as she watched footage from a surveillance camera in her neighborhood. The camera captured three coyotes strolling past her Raleigh home last week.

“I’m shocked,” she said.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said people can expect to see and hear more coyotes all the way through November.

“It’s important to understand that this is normal to see an increase in sightings of coyotes during the fall and early winter. It doesn’t necessarily mean the numbers are increasing,” said Falyn Owens, a Extension Wildlife Biologist with NC, Wildlife Resources Commission.

Coyotes were originally only found in the Midwest. State wildlife officials said they started moving east about 30 years ago, and are now present in all 100 North Carolina counties. 

“Our reporting of sightings is improving so we now collect data. We collect information of those sighting better than we have in the past,” Owens said.

Data collected between October and November of last year showed people in Wake County had and reported the most interactions with coyotes. 

County – Number of Reports

  1. Wake – 18
  2. Mecklenburg – 16
  3. Gaston – 15
  4. New Hanover – 12
  5. Iredell – 7
  6. Forsyth – 7
  7. Cumberland – 6
  8. Unknown – 6
  9. Orange – 5
  10. Brunswick – 5

“It’s mostly because there’s a lot of people in Wake County, and so there’s more people to see coyotes, more people to report those encounters,” Owens said.

While coyotes are usually wary of people, and rarely attack, it’s important to keep small pets in a fenced area and/or on a leash.

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