If you’ve ever seen a bobcat in your backyard, it can be unsettling. The creature looks like a larger version of a house cat, dwelling around in the wooded area of your backyard. Many people have to think to themselves, “Is this safe?”
While bobcats look like harmless creatures, they are dangerous to humans. They typically are not the type of animal that initiates contact with humans. They will not attack you unless provoked, but if you come across a bobcat, you will want to take safety precautions.
Even though they are harmless unless provoked, if you come into an accidental encounter it could be dangerous. You are running the risk of getting clawed or even attacked. Here’s your guide on how you can avoid a possible bobcat encounter.
How Do I Know If a Bobcat is Dangerous?
Bobcats typically limit their contact with humans. They are extremely docile animals when left to their own devices, but they can become dangerous, very quickly. If a bobcat has rabies and you come across it, it is more likely to attack you because its behavior has changed. Bobcats will be more territorial during mating season, so you may listen for loud screeches and other sounds, to know if a bobcat is nearby.
If a bobcat cub is nearby, the adults are going to become a lot more territorial. You might not know when this is, but it would be wise to steer clear. They are much more likely to attack you if they have something they need to defend. With that in mind, you are also going to want to keep any small children away from the bobcats.
Are Bobcats Dangerous to Pets?
Small pets are usually one of the biggest concerns when it comes to wild animals. Small pets can be prey for bobcats, especially small rodents such as hamsters or bunnies. If you have any small pets, you should exhibit caution when letting them outside.
If a bobcat gets ahold of them, it can be extremely dangerous or fatal. Also, exhibit caution about leaving any food for your pets outside, as this can attract bobcats to your backyard. Once you’ve taken all of these precautions, you may also want to look into noisemakers for the outdoors! If you are outside with a pet and see a bobcat, you will want to have something handy so that you can scare it away.
You may want to familiarize yourself with the way a bobcat looks. We’ve created a guide to help you identify what a bobcat looks like.
See our article for What Do Bobcats Look Like
Are Bobcats Dangerous to Dogs?
Bobcats are wild animals, so they are a danger to any type of domestic pet, such as dogs. Even if a dog is much larger than a bobcat, the dog would be in danger, since it does not have the same fighting instincts as a wild animal.
Domesticated animals have become comfortable in their surroundings, and while they can hold their own, most of the time, they are no match for a wild animal, who fights to survive. Make sure to keep your dogs inside if you see a bobcat or if you think you have one that is lurking around your home.
Are Bobcats Dangerous to Cats?
Just like a domestic dog, and other small pets, cats are not safe around bobcats. Even though bobcats are distantly related to domesticated cats, they will most likely not get along. The bobcat might see the housecat as a territorial threat. A domestic cat would have no chance against a wild bobcat.
Bobcats have started to venture closer into neighborhoods, and urban areas when their habitats are turned into housing developments and businesses. This is somewhat rare, but in times of food shortages, they will venture closer to humans to find a food source.
How to Keep Bobcats Away from Property?
This is a really simple question with a very simple answer. Due to the nature of the bobcat, they will usually be scared away with just a little bit of noise. You should not set out any food, bobcats can adapt to humans and once they do, it is going to be a lot harder to get rid of them.
If you are attacked by a bobcat, you must seek medical attention. You are going to want to ensure that you protect yourself as some animals can be rabid. Avoid any sudden movements if you come close to one, you may trigger a response for them to attack. If you are faced with a bobcat, back away slow and steady.
You can fortify your backyard, by having a fence and you can fortify your home, by making sure there are no holes in your siding, or areas that lead underneath your house, where a pregnant bobcat may decide to have her kittens.
Will a Bobcat Harm Livestock?
Yes. Bobcats prey on livestock-type animals. If you operate a farm where you keep livestock, this could potentially be dangerous for your animals if you have spotted a bobcat. If it becomes a persistent problem, you need to contact the Department of Fish and Game to get the bobcat removed from your property. Source.
If you can’t get the bobcat removed from the property, it might serve you well to get a fence. Bobcats are not going to go through the trouble of getting around the fence to eat the livestock so they may just leave them alone.
Can I Keep a Bobcat as A Pet?
If you have found a baby bobcat that’s mother is gone, you might want to keep it as a pet. If you’re the right type of person, a bobcat might be the right pet for you. To house a bobcat properly, you’re going to have to have experience with exotic pets and animals. This is imperative because you’re going to have to make a lot of adaptations to fit the needs of your newfound pet.
If you hand-raise a bobcat, it’s going to be a lot different than a wild bobcat. Wild bobcats are timid predators while hand-raised bobcats can be the perfect feline companion. However, bobcats destroy things extremely easily. You are going to have to make adjustments to all of your furniture as they will claw everything apart.
Another concern you might have is escaping. It is going to cost a lot of money to modify your house to prevent escapes. Double-door entrances are costly to put into place, meaning you may have to shell out more money than you were expecting to.
Before agreeing to care for a bobcat, you are going to have to check the law in your state. Many states do not allow the care of feline animals besides small domesticated cats. Call the Department of Agriculture to ask what the rules and regulations are for wild-turned-domesticated animals. In most cases, they can return them to the wild, with some rehabilitation. Source.
If you are worried about bobcat attacks, you can take many precautions to protect yourself if you’ve spotted a bobcat in your area. While bobcats typically will not attack you, it is perfectly okay to be cautious! Follow guidelines of keeping all pet food inside, keeping small animals inside, and if you see a bobcat, scare it away by making noise.
If you need to have the bobcat removed off of your property, you can call animal control or the Department of Fish and Game. If you have livestock, small children, or small pets, you may want to skip the prevention measures and get them removed for ultimate safety.
If you’ve found a baby bobcat who’s been abandoned, call the Department of Agriculture! While raising a bobcat might not be for everyone, if you are a brave soul you can take on the task! Make sure to follow any local and state guidelines regarding wild animals being kept for domestic purposes.
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