LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is warning the public that they may start seeing more coyotes soon.

Officials say many young coyotes leave their parents and look for new homes in the winter. January is also the start of coyote breeding season, so they may be more mobile then.

Authorities say coyotes are common in Indiana, in may be seen in both rural and urban areas.

"Coyotes thrive near people because they like to eat the rodents and rabbits that thrive near people," said Geriann Albers, a Department of Natural Resources furbearer biologist, in a statement. "So seeing them in urban areas happens pretty regularly, and is not unusual."

Although coyotes dine chiefly on rabbits and rodents, they will also eat fruit, insects, pet food and garbage. Officials suggest that residents keep their garbage secure and put bird feeders away.

"Coyotes may be attracted to bird feeders because mice and squirrels will hang around bird feeders," said Jessica Merkling, an urban biologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, in a statement. "If you start seeing a coyote and you have bird feeders up, taking them down for a few weeks may encourage a coyote to move on."

Anyone who sees a coyote is encouraged to make it uncomfortable by making noise, waving their arms, spraying it with a water hose or using a noisemaker, such as a jar of coins or a small air horn.

However, coyotes should never be cornered or chased.

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