GRAPEVINE -- We've all heard of "dinner and a movie." Well, a teen leaving a Grapevine Cinemark was almost an entrée himself when he says a coyote in the parking lot bit him on his foot.
Experts say coyotes are usually pretty unlikely to attack people.
"Those types of interactions are extremely, extremely rare," said Urban wildlife expert Derek Broman from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Broman also explained that when attacks do occur, it tends to be because the animal is either diseased or feral, which is why that Grapevine teen is getting a series of rabies shots.
Although Broman says sightings of wild animals aren't uncommon, the recent flooding of lakes and low areas has pushed more of them into populated regions.
One example of that is in a Preston Hollow neighborhood where residents have been snapping photos of coyotes and bobcats, some with smaller animals in their mouths. It raises the question -- are our pets, and even our kids, in danger?
"When you see that animal and you don't feel comfortable, it's important to look big, to be loud, and to make sure if you have children or pets around that might approach it. Keep them aware. Keep them close by you," Broman said. "And chances are that animal will probably leave you alone."
He added that just keeping an eye on children and small pets should be all it takes to keep them safe from animals.
And hey, if the animal isn't threatening anyone, he says you can help his department's research by uploading a photo along with your location to iNaturalist.org.
Just remember, safety first, folks! They call them wild animals for a reason.