The NYPD drew a wild card Saturday morning, when they found themselves tailing a coyote through lower Manhattan, eventually cornering, tranquilizing and caging the animal at a waterfront restaurant.

Before that, though, the female animal gallivanted around Battery Park City for about an hour before cops sedated it on a restaurant's terrace overlooking the Hudson River, the NYPD said in an email with the subject line, "1st Pct. Coyote."

"This was the first time we had a wild animal trying to dine with us," said Richard Cohn, co-owner of the Merchants River House restaurant, at 375 South End Ave., where the staff took refuge inside as the coyote pranced outdoors. "Only service animals are really allowed to dine with us."

Reports of the coyote sighting first came in to the NYPD at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, saying it was near North Cove Marina. Amateur video posted online shows the animal darting across traffic.

Officers from the First Precinct, as well as the Emergency Service Unit Truck 1, responded and soon found their prey. To trap the animal, Cohn said the team of cops turned over tables on the terrace of the restaurant, which boasts views of the Statue of Liberty.

"Then the guy with the tranquilizer shot it. It went to sleep," Cohn said.

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"1 Coyote in custody," the First Precinct tweeted.

The caged coyote went by police cruiser to the Center for Animal Care & Control, on East 110th Street, "where she is now lodged for observation and being cared for," the NYPD said.

This is at least the third coyote sighting in Manhattan in a week, according to reports. On Wednesday, police chased one on the Upper West Side. The next night, one was spotted in Morningside Heights.