Forsyth County resident Michael McMahon was driving down Bethel Road recently when he spotted two coyotes crossing the street.
While sighting the coyotes was a rare occurrence, what really amazed McMahon was that the nocturnal animals were traveling during daytime.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, coyote sightings have increased statewide over the past 10 years.
"We get calls from all over Georgia," said DNR spokeswoman Jennifer Barnes. "Coyotes have been around the area for quite some time, but people are seeing more and more of them."
McMahon slowed his vehicle when he saw the coyotes. He got his camera phone out to snap a picture, but they took off when they heard another vehicle approaching.
McMahon described the animals as about 2-feet tall, 3-feet long and gray with a puffy tail. He said they looked a little like dogs, but thinner.
A press release from the DNR noted a coyote resembles "a small dog in appearance ... with pointy ears and snout." The release also states that high-pitched cries, shrieks or yips can be heard late in the evening as the animals communicate.
Barnes said the DNR gets a "high-volume of nuisance complaints" from residents concerned about their pets being attacked by the non-native animals.
"They are considered opportunistic animals," Barnes said. "They eat what they can find, which is why if people notice coyotes in the area they should bring their pets into the house, especially at night."
Coyotes attacking humans is a rare, but not an unheard of occurrence. A May 7 coyote attack in California left a 2-year old child injured after one of the animals tried to drag the toddler away from a sandbox.
Ed Carter with the Forsyth County Environmental Health Department said coyotes are not aggressive unless provoked.
"They shouldn't bother a human," Carter said, "unless you corner them and give them a reason to be defensive."
The DNR has never received a report of a coyote attack on a person. The agency says the best way to keep coyotes away is to avoid leaving "easy meals" on your property.
In the wild, coyotes eat mostly rodents, rabbits and fruit. Given the chance, however, they will eat garbage or pet food.
While the DNR does not offer trapping services, it does provide an online list of licensed nuisance wildlife trappers across the state on its Web site.
McMahon called local animal control when he saw the coyotes. The department told him it does not remove the animals because they are not a threat to people.
Animal control could not be reached for comment.
"I think it's deforestation," McMahon said. "These animals are being removed from their normal habitat. Forsyth County is a prime example.
"We're building these subdivisions everywhere. If the coyotes' habitat is gone, their food is gone too, and they're going to be looking for it wherever they can find it."