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Coyote Sightings Up

Updated: Monday, April 15 2013, 09:42 PM EDT

Coyote sightings are up in Buncombe Couty. According to officials, they've been coming closer to homes more often over the last few years.

"You can hear them at night all around the house here," said Cheri Baker of Avery's Creek.

"At night when I'm laying in my bed, it sounds like they're at my front porch," said her daughter Michaela. "There's been a lot more howling at night."

In this part of the county new homes have been replacing habitat.

"Nobody had really seen any of them before all the development lately," said Jason Lindsey.

Adding to that, the number of coyotes has shot up.

"We didn't have too many coyotes in Western North Carolina up until the 1980s," said WNC Nature Center Naturalist Lauren Pyle. "Now it's pretty much my understanding that they're found in every county in the state."

Pyle says coyotes have been able to thrive at a time when other animal populations are being threatened because they're canny.

"So unlike a lot of other animals, when people come in, instead of being excluded, coyotes have found a way to survive."

It's likely that, as we spread out and they head in, we'll have to get used to a new normal: Coexisting with coyotes.

"They're not out to get us, you know we're not their main food source for sure," said Pyle outside the Nature Center coyote pen.

Pyle says that they're carnivores and - like us - a lot of times, they'll just eat what's easy.

"Whether it be a cat, or cat food, or a chicken. So I think that's where the reputation comes in."

She adds that, generally if you do run into one it's not likely to come after you.

"Just ... sort of stand, make loud noises, make yourself look big, and kind of not go after them ... just kind of give em some space, back away slowly."

By Ashlea Surles
Follow Ashlea on Twitter @AshleaSurles

Coyote Sightings Up

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