Reports of coyotes on Sullivan’s Island prompted police to issue an advisory Saturday night urging residents to protect vulnerable pets and not leave food laying around outside.

“There have been several sightings of coyotes on the island recently,” the police department said.

As a result, town staff will contact the state Department of Natural Resources to discuss how the situation should be handled, the advisory states.

“We’ll see what DNR says,” said Andy Benke, town manager.

Benke said the island has deer, raccoon and possum but he has not seen a coyote.

“They are so quick you don’t know if it’s a dog or a coyote,” he said.

He said an island resident called police on Saturday to report the sighting of one or more coyotes.

An example of a vulnerable pet would be a small cat. Pet food and open garbage should not be left out, he said.

Fire and Rescue Chief Anthony Stith said he had not seen a coyote. Police Chief Danny Howard could not be contacted.

Last summer, coyotes were seen at Patriots Point and other spots in Mount Pleasant two years after 14 were trapped in response to attacks on dogs. The town put up signs at Memorial Waterfront Park advising that coyotes may be present.

Coyotes resemble German Shepherds but have a fox-like appearance. They have moved into every county in the state. Nearly 30,000 are trapped or shot by hunters annually, according to the DNR.