A coyote found dead in a ditch on Isle of Palms was not shot, but it may have been poisoned or hit by a car, officials said.

There were no visible signs of injury to the animal.

An unidentified caller to City Hall reported a dead dog Jan. 6 that an animal control officer identified as a small, younger-looking coyote. Officials disposed of the carcass, said City Manager Linda Tucker.

"I probably get far more complaints concerning rats than coyotes," Tucker said.

Hunting coyotes is legal but local gun laws apply.

Neighboring Sullivan's Island is developing a plan to cull its coyote population. No such action is contemplated on IOP, where officials have received five unconfirmed reports of live coyotes in the past year. One of them happened Wednesday morning, when Matt Allen told authorities he saw a coyote crossing his front yard.

"I knew exactly what it was," Allen said.

He texted neighbors to warn them. A man walking his dog saw the coyote, too, he said.

IOP City Councilman Mike Loftus said that he saw a coyote in Wild Dunes. He suspects the animals have been on the island a long time because there is a lot of wild game for them, including a burgeoning deer population.

On Sullivan's, some residents worry that missing cats have fallen prey to coyotes. They have also expressed concern about the safety of children. A few homeowners have hired a trapper. Exactly how Town Council will approach the problem has not yet been determined.

Resident Joel Kirshtein tapes night video of coyotes that come around his Station 26 house. His efforts, posted on YouTube, include audio of howling coyotes.

Sullivan's Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Kaynard said that he accompanies his 40-pound dog outside to protect it from any coyotes that may be near.

Coyotes have been reported in every South Carolina county. Experts advise not leaving food outside to attract them.

Both Sullivan's and IOP have tips for co-existing safely with coyotes. The Sullivan's advice is posted at the town website. IOP coyote recommendations are available to residents who call or e-mail City Hall.