The Department of Conservation said there have been several people call in about coyote sightings in the urban areas of Columbia.

Although coyotes prefer open fields, conservationists said they prey on rabbits and squirrels, which are easily to find in neighborhoods.

"I think it'll be here to stay.  It's something that's going to require suburban landowners to be a little bit educated," said Wildlife Supervisor, John George.

George said coyotes adapt very easily to different areas, which makes them even more of a predator to those in the city limits.

Coyotes are mainly nocturnal, but are occasionally spotted in the daytime.

Typically, coyotes don't weigh more than 30 pounds, but to a small pet or child this could be potentially deadly.

"If it learns that a light comes on every night at 10:00 and a 5 pound animal walks out to go to the bathroom, coyotes can learn that pattern real easy," said George.

George also said if you make a coyote feel threatened by spraying it with a water hose or yelling at it, that could keep it away for good.

"Make if feel unwelcome so it doesn't spend more time than necessary in your yard," said George.

He said coyotes are not a protected species in Missouri, however, he recommends hiring a trapper to get rid of them if you feel your pets or children are in danger.