RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Don’t be surprised if you see a coyote passing through your neighborhood or even in your backyard — wildlife biologists say coyote sightings rise in the fall.
It isn’t unusual to spot a coyote in the Triangle. Video posted on social media shows one walking through a yard in Raleigh. Another clip shows a coyote crossing a trail.
Sometimes they even come right up to surveillance cameras.
If you haven’t seen one yet, you may see one soon.
“This is the time of the year when you see an increase in coyote sightings,” noted Falyn Owens, the extension wildlife biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
She added, that doesn’t mean there are more coyotes out there, just that they’re more noticeable.
“This is the time of year when young coyotes that were born in the springtime are old enough to set off on their own,” she explained. “They’re exploring new areas, so they tend to pop up in places where maybe people don’t normally see coyotes.”
Philip Woodward spotted a coyote in his Knightdale neighborhood several years ago. He hasn’t seen one this fall, but he says other people in his neighborhood have.
“I am concerned because I have three small dogs and three kids,” he said.
Owens says coyotes typically don’t want to interact with people.
“If it sees you, it might stop and just try to figure out what you are going to do, and then typically it’s just going to run away the second you move or do something,” she said.
They can be a danger to small pets, though.
“Coyotes are predators; they normally eat things that are roughly the size of a rabbit,” said Owens. “Small breed dogs or outdoor cats to a coyote just looks like potentially something tasty, if they can catch it, so definitely, it’s important to keep those animals secure and stay nearby.”
On walks, she recommends keeping dogs on a short leash, and carrying small dogs if a coyote shows interest.
If coyotes have been seen in your neighborhood, and you want to keep them away from your yard, Owens says you should make sure there are no food sources like pet food or trash. Bird feeders can also attract coyotes because they bring in animals coyotes like to eat.
“We do want to be careful,” Woodward said adding that coyotes live in our communities too. “We’re going to encroach in wildlife habitat then we have to find a way to share the habitat with wildlife.”
For more information on coyotes and what to do if you come across one, click here.