Bobcats (Lynx Rufus) are one of two cats that are native to Florida, the other being the Florida Cougar. Florida is lucky to be able to call itself home to both beautiful creatures however; Bobcats sightings are extremely rare in the state. In urban areas, a bobcat rarely navigates farther than a 1 to 2 mile radius from where it lives. They normally reside in the deep woods and swampy areas which are thick with palmettos and dense shrubs. Don’t be surprised if you spot one while walking through one of our state parks! However, as threatening as they may be to some, bobcats are actually naturally scared of humans and shy away when their paths cross with ours.
Bobcats are not as large as Panthers yet are larger than a feral cat. If spotted on a property, some homeowners mistake them for panthers or large house or feral cats. Bobcats can weigh from 15 – 35 lbs and grow up to 36” or 3 ft. in length. In comparison, a male Florida cougar can grow up to 7 – 8 feet and weigh from 100-160 lbs. And while some larger, “treat-loving”, overweight house cats can weigh up to 15 lbs, they still, in comparison, are considerably smaller than a bobcat. In addition, one main defining characteristic of bobcats are their “bobbed tails”, hence their name.
Bobcats tend to stay within 1 – 2 miles of their home. So, if you see a bobcat around your property or on your street it’s probably just out for a stroll. Bobcats normally do their hunting at night, therefore if you see one in the evening, it may be on the prowl for tiny critters. Remember that if you spot a bobcat on or around your property to bring in any small pets or children and to stay indoors until it passes by. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Again, if you see a bobcat on your property, bring in your pets and any small children. Stay inside until the cat moves on. More than likely he or she is just roaming around in search for food or just taking a walk. Bobcats are beautiful and are a rare sight but are also best viewed from behind a window. Do not attempt to go near it to take a picture or to pet it, doing so can scare the cat or make it feel threatened. More than likely, if you see a bobcat or if it sees you, it will probably run in the opposite direction. Bobcats are naturally scared of humans and usually don’t want anything to do with us.
Heron pest and wildlife solutions cares about protecting the environment and the people and wildlife that live within it. Because of this, we take every proper precaution to ensure that all animals that we capture are safely released back into the wild that they are familiar with. Bobcats are protected by Florida law and if captured, must be released back into the area where they were found; this way they can find their way back to their familiar home land which they are used to hunting in. Releasing them in any other area would confuse the animal and could be detrimental to their well being. It would be comparable to leaving a small child alone in a city that they’re unfamiliar with.
A bobcat’s natural diet consists of smaller mammals such as birds, squirrels, rabbits, opossums, small or baby raccoons and in the winter time it will eat migratory birds. Bobcats will occasionally eat feral cats if there’s an abundance of them near its habitat.
The chance of a bobcat attacking a human is rare but possible. Humans should always be cautious around wild animals, especially because the animal could be rabid or it could be a female with babies nearby. Because bobcats have a natural fear of humans, they will usually run away if they see us. However, if you see one on your property, it would be wise to bring in any small animals or children and avoid any contact with the animal. You never want to startle a wild animal and cause it to feel threatened. Doing so can cause it to react and potentially attack. Also, if your pets are any of the animals listed above, you may not want to leave them unattended outside. Not only can they lure a bobcat to attack but in addition, many other predators as well, such as Falcons and Osprey.
Bobcats only rest for 2 – 3 hours a day and spend the other 20-21 hours roaming around. They actually spend about 75 – 85% of their time moving. In rural areas a bobcat can cover 5 – 6 square miles and in urban areas around 1 – 2 square miles. They can actually travel as far as 6.2 miles in a 24 hour period. There’s no particular time when they are more active as they only rest for such a short time. However, Bobcats, like any other cat, tend to hunt during the night; so it’s more likely that they’ll take their cat nap during the day.
As majestically beautiful as they are, and as tempting as it is to keep one as a pet, bobcats are not good candidates to keep as indoor house pets. They are a wild animal and are unpredictable. Also, unless raised by humans in captivity, they are not used to being handled by people. Because of this, you should never attempt to bring a wild cat or any other wild animal inside of your home. Doing so could be dangerous for you, your family and pets and for the animal. Secondly, wild animals, such as bobcats need plenty of space to live, run and play and that is something that most people cannot provide. Keeping one in your home or apartment would be cruel and will not benefit the animal in any way. And lastly, Bobcats are known to form a strong bond with their caretakers very early on and will remember them for LIFE. It would be extremely heartbreaking to decide to keep a Bobcat kitten as a pet, raise it and then decide that you didn’t want it anymore once it became too wild to care for any longer. You would be tearing it apart from the only family it’s ever known. Bobcats have also been known to suffer from depression for years following a traumatic event such as being separated from a loved one.
The best thing to do if you find a bobcat on your property and notice that it’s not leaving is to call us and we will follow the proper procedures to capture and release the animal back into the wild. If the animal is hurt, we will take it to one of our rehabilitation centers for further care.
If you find a hurt bobcat, either calling a wild cat sanctuary would be the best decision. You can also call us and we will be more than happy to pick up the injured animal and bring it to the appropriate rehabilitation center. The professionals at wildcat sanctuaries and healing centers will be able to provide the proper care and will nurture the animal back to health and release it back into the wild once it is well enough to survive on its own. Again, never try to take the animal home and keep it as a pet. If it’s hurt, it needs to have the proper medical attention that it deserves.