Police warn North Wildwood residents amid coyote sightings in the area

Attacks on humans are rare, but officials say they have happened.

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Driving down 13th Avenue in North Wildwood, resident Jamie Plata spotted what many believe was a coyote on Tuesday.

She immediately pulled out her phone to record the dog-sized animal.

“It’s a coyote!” she says in the video, as the car follows it.

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Since the sighting, North Wildwood police put out an alert on social media warning residents that there have been several coyotes spotted in the area.

They asked residents to keep small pets and even small children close by and to not let them outside unattended.

“My neighbor alerted me because they knew I was bringing my daughter’s dog down, a little guy,” said Don Somma, who has a home in North Wildwood. “And to be careful because they had seen a coyote on the rocks out in front of our place.”

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, coyotes are common in the state, and they can live on whatever food is readily available.

That can mean human food, garbage, or pet food that’s been left outside.

Coyotes hunt rodents and small animals, which also means they can be attracted to small pets.

Attacks on humans are rare, but officials say they have happened.

In September 2019 in Illinois, home surveillance cameras caught a coyote charging at a 5-year-old girl playing in her yard.

The girl was okay.

Residents say they are on alert but aren’t too concerned.

“I have a dog that’s 42 pounds, but we do walk the beach,” said Margaret Mottershead of North Wildwood. “I hope nobody comes at us, but they say if you leave them alone they won’t bother you.”

So what if you see one?

Wildlife experts say to not feed it no matter what.

If it’s coming too close and you want it to back off, you can make loud noises, throw rocks, or spray it with a hose.

In cases of an emergency call 911.

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