Coyote sightings typically increase throughout the local area in the summer months. Residents, especially those with kids or small pets, should know what to do when they spot coyotes and how to avoid them.

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DESTIN — Coyote sightings have increased this summer, which is customary for this time of year.

It is common to have coyotes in urban and suburban areas because they are adaptable creatures, according to Karen Parker, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“They are hunting during the summer for their babies, and that is why you might see them out searching for food,” she said.

Parker encouraged people not to leave pet food outside and to pick up garbage left behind.

“If you do encounter a coyote, yell at it and make a load noise,” she said. “You want to make the encounter unpleasant so they will think twice before coming around humans again.”

Parker said dog owners should always have their dog on a leash and keep small pets indoors at night.

“Coyote sightings have been reported in all 67 counties in Florida. We don’t want to scare people but make them aware that they are out there,” she said. “Don’t approach them, pet them or feed them.”

Coyotes typically weigh about 35 pounds and rarely pose a threat to people, Parker said. They are timid and shy animals. Coyotes usually hunt small rodents, foxes, raccoons and opossums.

On a recent Facebook post on the topic, dozens of people reported sightings at Destin Executive Airport, Indian Bayou Golf and Country Club and along several streets.

“I saw one on Dolphin Street about a week or two ago. Had to slow down to make sure it wasn’t a dog, he was pretty small,” Ashley Immordino posted on Facebook.

“We live in Burnt Pine in Sandestin, and I'm so thankful our yard is fully fenced," Tara Becuel wrote on Facebook. "Every night, they come down the golf course, walk through the empty lot next to our house and up the street to get back on the golf course further down. It's a pack of about six of them. I've got two small dogs and it scares me to death.”

Mary Rudder, animal control supervisor for the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, said PAWS only deals with coyotes when they come in contact with a person or a domestic pet.

“If they bite a human or prey on domestic pets, we will set up live humane traps and get them out of the area,” she said.

Rudder said there haven’t been any reports of coyote attacks in Destin this summer.

”For precaution, always bring pets inside. It’s not safe with coyotes coming out at night,” she said.