Late this afternoon, when I went out to walk our puppy one of the neighbors came over to tell me this news Apparently a bobcat has been sited within our development here in Riverview around one of our retention ponds, at the rear of several neighbors gardens.
The Florida Bobcat (Lynx rufus floridanus) is known to be a warm-blooded, solitary, and territorial predator mammal. Although not as big as the Florida Panther the bobcat is usually around the size of a medium-sized dog. The bobcat is dark brown with black spots and striped bars which are most visible along their sides and legs. The backs of their ears are white with a black out line, their tails shorter having a white tip. Their under parts are also generally white with their fur being short, soft and dense. It should be noted that the bobcat has razor sharp teeth and retractable claws just like the house cats.
Bobcats are carnivores but considered to be generalists as they feed off many differing types of animals, their diet being composed of small mammals and birds although they have been known to kill smaller deer.
Bobcats are very active, spending 75%+ on the move. They tend to be most active around dawn and dusk, during midday and midnight they move the least. This activity is known as crespucular.
Due to its numbers in Florida, the bobcat is not listed as endangered or threatened.
The University of Florida states:-
Conservation of Florida’s carnivores is important for maintaining the complex ecological relationships that exist among predators and prey and herbivores and plant communities. Loss of top-level predators in ecosystems can have unpredictable results. Moreover, by conserving the large tracts of habitat required by carnivores, we ensure that sufficient habitat is preserved to support the many other species of plants and animals that constitute Florida’s natural environment.
So what do you do if you see one
Remember the bobcat is a wild animal, who could be carrying an assortment of diseases. A veteran actually strangled a rabid bobcat to death in Pasco County. You can read the article here entitled Man Strangles Bobcat from the St Pete Times.
According to the FWC they should be left well alone as they have an unpredictable dispostion…. remember those razor sharp teeth and retractable claws mentioned earlier????
Refer the animal to your local county Animal Control Services Department rather than risk incident.
As we have said previously, as ‘man’ encroaches on these animals lands, we are likely to hear of more incidents with Florida’s carnivores.
Pictures courtesy of FWC