GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — As the sun sets earlier each night, you may start to see or even hear some wild visitors near the woods in Greenville and surrounding areas.

Coyotes have been seen by a few people and even one person reported a cat attacked by one. An expert tells us how to avoid the wild unwanted guests.

“I just avoid walking the treeline anymore because a few times we’ve walked the treeline and we’ve had a few visitors come out and try to approach us,” said Dan Wortman. “At first, they were just looking over the embankment and then they started to get a little more … they started coming in the yard.”

It’s an issue NC Wildlife Commission Extension Biologist Falyn Owens said happens a lot.

“It’s always safe to assume that there are probably coyotes that live in the area, whether you see them or not,” Owens said. “Coyotes are pretty good at avoiding detection by humans, although sometimes they can be out and about when people notice them.”

Greenville residents, including Sam Best, have experienced some close encounters with the coyotes so far. That includes one incident where he helped protect a neighbor’s cat.

“So I ran out here screaming as loud as I could scream and the coyote let go of Socks for a minute and Socks ran into the sewer there,” Best said. “Two days later, Socks shows up where he lives over here at this other building.”

Coyotes typically travel in packs of two, a male and a female and sometimes a small pup. They are always searching for food.

“The two coyotes and one of them was actually eating the peanuts I give to squirrels,” Best said.

“Coyotes can’t read labels and they don’t know that the food is intended for other types of wild animals,” Owens said. “When you’re a wild animal, food is food. You take it if you can get it and it’s something that you can survive on.”

Coyotes can survive off small rodents, insects and all other kinds of food. So one tip to keep them away from your yard is to remove those outdoor food sources.

“We always recommend to remove food sources if you don’t want coyotes or other unwanted wild animals hanging out near your home because they’re going to take advantage of that,” Owens said.