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JACKSONVILLE, NC (AP) — The coyotes in Onslow County have a sweet tooth.

The Jacksonville Daily News reported that farmers have reported the coyotes are eating watermelons.

Melissa Huffman with the cooperative extension service in Onslow County says coyotes usually kill calves, goats and sheep. But she says the animals have started eating melons and other vegetables.

The North Carolina Wildlife Commission has authorized nighttime hunting of the predators.

Jack Holland says a pack of coyotes has eaten $1,000 worth of watermelons in the past two weeks, sometimes eating as many as 20 melons a night. Holland says this is the worst year for coyotes on his farm.

Coyotes can threaten public health because they carry rabies.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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