Control and How to Prevent Attacks
A bobcat - a consummate predator and a bold raider - can become a nuisance that has to be controlled. Its screams in the night can frighten youngsters. If rabid, it can pose a serious threat to humans. Deprived of natural prey, it may turn to livestock and pets for food.
Should you encounter a bobcat, you should keep as much distance between you and the animal as possible:
- Immediately protect children and pets
- Back away from the bobcat slowly and deliberately
- Avoid running away because that could trigger a pursuit response
- If possible, spray the animal with water
- When possible make a lot of noise (banging pans, for instance, or blowing an air horn)
Attacks by bobcats on humans are rare. Normally if a bobcat approaches a human or seems aggressive towards you it is most likely sick or rabid. If a bobcat tries to attack you do whatever you can to defend yourself. If attacked, seek medical care promptly. If the bobcat is killed during the attack, make sure you have authorities examine the carcass of the bobcat for rabies or other diseases.
If you see a bobcat hanging around a populated neighborhood or where people frequently hang out, notify animal control authorities immediately. They can observe the bobcat and remove it from the area if it seems to be a threat.
A bobcat that preys persistently on free-ranging livestock may require relocation or extermination, probably by a government agency or a commercial trapper. Contact your local Department of Fish and Game for assistance with removing bobcats or other predators from your area.
A bobcat might also be discouraged from attacking livestock by a fence, if practicable. The Los Angeles Animal Services, on its Internet site, suggests that the fence should be at least 6 feet high, with the bottom extended some 6 to 12 inches below ground and the top protected by an outward-facing 16-inch wide-angle extension. (Without the wide-angle extension, the bobcat could likely jump the fence.)
Protect Your Yard
If bobcats begin to appear in your neighborhood, you can take several precautions to discourage visits and protect pets:
- Trim back excess vegetation that might otherwise provide cover
- Do not feed birds or other wildlife, which might attract bobcats
- Do not feed the bobcats
- Do not leave pet food or water outdoors
- Vaccinate your pets
- Keep pets indoors or in secure, protective cages or pens
- Consider a deterrent that generates electronic sounds that mimic the calls of bobcats' enemies, for instance, the hiss of a cougar
Common Questions About Bobcats
If you can discourage bobcat visits and predation, you could not only increase the security for you and your family as well as for livestock pets, you could very well save a bobcat's life.
by Jay W. Sharp
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