NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A rash of coyote sightings in one Westchester neighborhood has residents on edge Monday. The typically nocturnal animals continued to be spotted during the day, making some people fear they could be rabid.

Laura Malick says she was preparing breakfast around 9 a.m. Saturday when she was shocked to see a coyote just outside the glass doors that lead to her backyard.

“I didn’t know if it had rabies, I don’t know how coyotes act, I don’t know if they’re supposed to be outside during the day,” she told CBS2. “We’re in the suburbs of New York City, we’re not like in a nature preserve so I was surprised to see it.”

The mom of a three-year-old and a newborn says she was concerned about the animal’s thin, mangy appearance and the amount of time it spent just staring at her. She and a relative took pictures and posted one in a Facebook group for moms in New Rochelle.

“It was like, over 80 comments from people who’ve seen coyotes in Westchester, there have been more coyote sightings,” she said.

A number of the comments were from moms who were concerned about their children and pets. While attacks on humans are rare, coyotes are known to attack and kill cats and small dogs. As a result, experts advise against leaving pet food outside since doing so could draw your cat or dog closer to a hungry coyote hunting for its next meal.

The coyotes also seem to like pet food, so it could keep them coming back to your property. Experts also say coyotes are attracted to garbage, so don’t leave any outside for too long. Molly Selinka says she’s changing several of her routines after living in the neighborhood for 50 years. She says last week was the first time she’s ever seen a coyote.

“I saw it running from my yard and then behind that house,” she said. “I sort of looked around just to make sure and I leave my garage door closed.”

Most residents who see coyotes call the New Rochelle Police Department, but a spokesperson told CBS2 they only respond if the animals show classic signs of rabies such as foaming at the mouth or trouble walking. They say if you see a coyote, it’s best to simply keep your distance.

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