Bobcats: A Backyard Pest Threat
Bobcats are very secretive creatures that few people ever see, but they have increased in number and are now occasional problems nationwide, even in urban and suburban areas. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, their populations dropped partly because they were being hunted extensively for their furs. But as prices for their furs dropped and many states started regulating hunting them, their populations surged. A survey in 2010 showed that their numbers have tripled since their lows.
Bobcats are about twice as big as an average house cat, and have a short, “bobbed” tail. Like coyotes and other predators, they kill and eat people’s pet dogs, cats and backyard chickens. They are fierce hunters and can even kill animals larger than themselves, like full-grown deer, although this is infrequent. Their main diet is small prey like rabbits, squirrels, insects, and birds, including chickens and wild turkeys.
For those of you living with wild areas near you, keep your small pets safer by not letting them out at night.