GASTONIA, N.C. - Residents in Gaston County say they are seeing coyotes roaming around, even in the middle of the day.
In a Gastonia neighborhood, off Hoffman Road, neighbors say they hear howling at night and see them only yards from their front door.
Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon spotted a coyote driving through the area.
Anthony Morrone, who lives off Hoffman Road, said the presence of coyotes is uncomfortable.
Morrone said years ago, he and his wife would hear and see a coyote only at night, and it quickly scampered away.
"This has become a lot more prevalent, a lot more sightings,” Morrone said.
Residents said there are at least three coyotes spotted in the neighborhood now.
One was spotted at 10 a.m. Thursday near Morrone’s fence line.
"They are in the woods behind us,” Morrone said.
Experts say coyotes are not going away.
"It looks like the coyotes are here to stay,” said Tony Pasour with the Schiele Museum. “They have found a way to adapt to our environment and they are rapidly growing in population."
Based on Pasour’s information, a bold coyote is not a good sign.
"Coyotes tend to lose fear when they realize people are not a threat,” Pasour said. “They are very smart and very adaptable."
Residents in the area said their outdoor cats have disappeared, as coyotes often prey on them.
Animal control officials said they cannot remove the coyotes unless someone witnesses them threating pets or people.
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