Once considered a gigantic threat and almost hunted to extinction, bobcats are finally making a comeback. Sightings continue to rise year after year and their populations continue to grow. However, this also means residents should keep a closer eye on their pets when outside.
Much like the coyote, these predators might view your fur baby as a tasty snack if you leave them unattended.
Connecticut Magazine reports that pet owners who venture out before dusk or dawn should be on high alert of these animals. That’s when they’re most active.
Also, April is the month when bobcats have their litters, so they might be extra aggressive if you encounter one. They normally don’t attack humans, but going near their young is the exception.
All wild predators grow protective of their young, though. That’s a given. Just try going up to a suburban woman’s kid in the playground and see what happens next.
So, if you see a young Lynx, do yourself a favor and keep your distance. Your Instagram followers will understand. The last picture you don’t want on your smartphone is a mother bobcat flying at you.
That’s why state environmental officials issued this PSA.
“Bobcat attacks on people are extremely rare. Bobcats are not a significant vector of disease and rarely contract the mid-Atlantic strain of rabies.”
Although, it is nice that we are able to see these wild creatures at all. Between 1935 to 1971, Connecticut placed a bounty on the bobcats. Back then, people believed they posed a significant danger to game species and agriculture.
However, the tide began turning in the 70’s and bobcats once again became a protected furbearer. That meant it became illegal to hunt or trap these predators.
Now, the species finally made their comeback after years of poaching. However, with increased sightings also comes increased vehicle-kills. The state reports about 20 to 30 vehicle-killed bobcats a year.
Despite this, the bodies provide invaluable information to wildlife officials. They examine each body’s age, physical fitness, and breeding conditions. They later use the data to their ongoing study of these creatures.
Bobcats mostly live in Northwestern CT, but they do appear in 7 other counties. They mostly inhabit wooded and marshy areas. They also travel up to 4 miles a day and claim territory between 8 to 20 square miles.
Lynx mostly feast on woodland rodents like rabbits and woodchucks, but they are capable of taking down the sizeable deer, too. So, if you thought the coyote was CT’s top predator, you’re wrong. These guys are on top of the predatory food chain in the state.
Which means, these guys will not back down to your German Shepherd or Burmese Mountain Dog. So, keep an eye on your small and large pets when taking them out before dawn and after dusk. This especially goes for rural residents or those utilizing local parks.
If you see a bobcat, however, do not try to startle it and immediately protect your kids and pets. Instead, deliberately back away and do it slowly because they might chase you if you run.
Environmental officials say if it comes too close, spray it with water and then make a ton of noise to scare it away.
Either way, it looks like bobcats are making a huge comeback, which is great news. That pesky deer population needs to be taken down a few pegs.