Charlotte coyote sightings prove popular on social media

CHARLOTTE — More people are snapping photos and videos of their wildlife encounters, and one animal across North Carolina is becoming a popular subject.

Emily Barius lives in Stonehaven. She told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke she heard rustling and looked up. “I saw them right, right up in there,” she said.

Coyotes. Four of them. She shot video of them.

“I was excited. I thought it was so cool. I’ve heard them. I’ve never actually seen them. Got a good look,” she said.

She says she also yipping at night that certainly sounds like coyotes.

“I’ve had a lot of friends text me pictures [of coyotes]… in their neighborhood, in the street,” she said.

People sent Stoogenke pictures too. One even shows a bunch of pups which appear to have a den under a gazebo.

Stoogenke even saw some coyotes too. They were right outside the WSOC TV studios. It was the middle of the day. They were crossing North Tryon Street from the TV station to the train station.

NC Wildlife says it doesn’t think there are more sightings than usual. It says coyotes are “very good at coexisting with humans and not causing issues.” In fact, they provide “free pest control” in “urban” areas when it comes to “rat, mole, vole and rabbit” populations. The biggest risk is to small pets and livestock.

Stoogenke saw social media posts about that too. One said, “Two coyotes just took my dog from right next to my deck ... one of them had my dog by the scruff ... Please be safe!”

Patricia Ross lives in the Oakhurst neighborhood. She told Stoogenke some of her outdoor cats disappeared over the years. She wasn’t sure why until -- she says -- she noticed a coyote wandering the neighborhood the other day.

“We saw it run straight up the road right here and it was very casual. It wasn’t even like it was in a hurry,” she said. “I was surprised to see a coyote so close to downtown Charlotte.”

She’ll never know if coyotes killed her cats, but now she keeps a closer eye on her other pets.

Here’s how to avoid issues with coyotes (some may be obvious):

- Don’t feed or try to pet them

- Make sure trash cans close tightly

- Keep your pets on a leash or inside a fenced area

- If you put up a fence to keep coyotes out, make sure it’s at least six feet tall and doesn’t leave room for them to dig under

- Close off crawl spaces

- Clean up fruit that falls from trees. Coyotes may be carnivores, but they like fruit.

Some people ask about hunting coyotes, and you can find more information here: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Species/Mammals/Coyote2#44771672-regulations-

(WATCH: Employees at car dealership discover coyote stuck in car grille)

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