CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Neighbors are on high alert after coyotes were spotted in Cary.
Last month, a neighbor spotted three coyotes off Thoresby Court near High House Road in Cary.
"It's a little unnerving while walking my dog at 10 o'clock at night. It was carrying a squirrel in its mouth," one neighbor said.
Officials with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission said coyote sightings are not uncommon downtown or in the suburbs.
Last year, there were 75 reported coyote sightings. Coyotes are opportunist and prefer feasting on animals smaller than them unless a bigger animal is already dead.
"I'm just concerned that people let their dogs and cats out at night, and the coyote decides to have dinner."
That's why officials say it's important not to leave small pets or food outdoors, and don't feed coyotes pet food or any food for that matter.
Coyotes are naturally scared of humans, and it's important not change that. Wildlife officials said it's OK to intimidate a coyote you spot by throwing a small object at it, spraying a water hose, or yelling for it to go away.
The animal is smart of enough to take the hint and keep moving. Officials say coyotes can roam day or night, and it's very rare that they receive reports of them contracting rabies. But if you suspect that a coyote is acting aggressive you should call 911.
If you have non-emergency questions about any wildlife, call NC Wildlife Resources Commission non-emergency helpline 1-866-318-2401.
Coyote sighting puts Cary neighbors on high alert