AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — Following a string of recent sightings in residential neighborhoods in Aurora, animal control experts say if you see a coyote, don’t run.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, six coyotes have been spotted in Aurora in the past week, out of 23 so far this year. Most of the sightings have been on the far southeast side of Aurora, where many homes and yards are adjacent to rural and wooded areas.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

Aurora officials say coyote sightings are not uncommon at this time of year, given that coyotes’ mating cycles lead to younger animals leaving their families and going out on their own. Fall crop harvesting also disrupts coyotes’ normal behaviors, officials say.

Officials advise carrying a walking stick and walking, not running. This is because running can trigger the coyote’s instinct to chase its prey.

Animal control experts say if you see a coyote, you should yell, wave your arms and throw an object at the animal.

Coyotes are attracted to clutter, such as brush piles and old construction sites.

They will also go for food, such as bread, meant for ducks and geese.

Coyotes are generally leery of people and prefer to stay away, but they can be a danger to young children and pets.

Aurora officials emphasize that dogs and cats – particularly smaller ones – need to be supervised while outside. Coyotes are often attracted to outside cats, and thus, pet cats should be kept inside and stray cats shold be spayed or neutered.