Urban Bobcat

Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are a robust and highly adaptable species. These small felids can live in a wide variety of habitats ranging from forests, to deserts, and, surprisingly, urban areas. That’s right! Bobcats may be living in our own backyards and we may not even be aware of it.

Bobcats are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular — meaning they are most active around dawn, dusk, and at night. By being active well after most humans go to bed, these elusive cats can go about their business relatively unnoticed. From time to time, these wild cats will be seen out and about during the day, but that’s not necessarily cause for alarm. Occasionally, bobcats have been spotted as they dart across the road, take a stroll at the local golf course, or even hanging out in parks. These human-developed spaces offer resources like food, water, shelter, and some security from larger predators that are often not tolerated.

However, the urban bobcat doesn’t necessarily have it made in the shade. There are many challenges that they must overcome to survive. In fragmented urban habitats, bobcats are forced to cross roadways where they may be hit by a passing vehicle. Cars aren’t the only thing that they need to worry about either. They also risk contracting diseases from domesticated animals or exposure to rodenticides that people use in an attempt to control rodent populations.

The next time you’re out, keep your eyes peeled for this wild neighbor. Remember, even though bobcats are shy and tend to keep their distance from us, you never want to approach wildlife…for their safety and for ours.

Denise Peterson

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