SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – One Surfside Beach woman is counting her blessings after she says a coyote joined in on her nightly bike ride.
"I was like, 'Oh my god, please help me,'" said Erika Ray.
Thursday night around 8 p.m., the mother of two saw a coyote come out of the woods.
"It just stared at me," she said. "I shined my flashlight on it and it didn't move. And at that point I knew I needed to ride faster. So I took off."
As Ray approached Hollywood Drive, she stopped and looked behind her, never expecting to see what came next.
"When I got to the stop sign, I looked behind me and it was just running down the road chasing me," she said.
Ray pedaled even faster and said she is certain this was a coyote, describing the animal as brown, skinny, with big ears, a short snout and a long tail.
"I'm positive it was not a dog," she said.
Ray understands how crazy it sounds but says this was real life.
"I even looked up pictures online, just to make sure I wasn't losing it. This was definitely a coyote, definitely," she said.
Though it is unlikely, Russell Cavender, also known as The Snake Chaser said it could happen.
"If they do, then most likely they are sick," he said.
If this animal wasn't sick with rabies or a similar disease called distemper, Cavender said the coyote could have been confused.
"It could have thought the motion of the bicycle and her could have been a deer," he said.
With 20 to 30 calls a month, Cavender said it's not just Surfside Beach. Coyotes are posing a problem all over the Grand Strand. He says they are killing anything from small wildlife, to people's cats and small dogs.
As for Ray, she's going to think twice before her next night ride.
"I'm not sure I'm going to bike at night anymore," she said.
Right now, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources does have a bounty on coyotes if they've tagged. For those who live within a municipality's limits, they wouldn't be able to shoot one.
If a coyote is seen in a neighborhood, residents should call an expert to come and try to remove the animal.