12.31.2003 - I set armadillo traps at a house in a suburban community on the east side of Orlando. I had trapped an armadillo already, but the customer wanted me to continue trapping, in case there were more. The yard suffered from significant
I got a call on the morning of the 31st, from the owner of the house, and she told me that one of the cages contained a large and aggressive cat. "I think it's a bobcat", she said. "Suuurree… it's a bobcat", I thought. The customer is always telling me about wild and crazy animals that do not exist. Every harmless little Corn Snake is suddenly a rattlesnake once spotted by the suburban-dwelling concerned citizen. I catch stray cats from time to time, so it was no surprise that I'd caught one in one of my armadillo traps and it had been misidentified by an excited suburbanite prone to hyperbole. "I'll come get it as soon as I can", I said, and I went about my day tending to more important wildlife issues, ready to retrieve the cat later that afternoon.
However, the lady called back an hour or so later, saying, "I really think you should come get this cat. I'm fairly certain that it's a bobcat". I was still skeptical, because I'm always skeptical, because of the repeated tendency for people to be wrong, but I went over to the house right away anyway.
I marched around the house to the trap, ready to show the lady that it was simply a boring old, common stray cat. As I turned the corner and approached the trap, I got that nice jolt that one gets when encountering the unexpected. To my surprise, there sat a small bobcat. I quickly noticed how alert the animal was. Some critters lay in the trap with a dull look and lazy countenance. This bobcat stared at me with great intensity. It would not remove its fixed gaze from me as I circled the trap. I was of course careful not to touch the trap or stick my fingers inside. I brought the cage closer to the edge of the woods, and took a few photos. It was a beautiful animal. I liked seeing the long, thick arms and the little bob tail.
I opened the cage door to let it go, but it didn't watch the door open. It continued to stare at me, unblinking. It slowly backed up, as if instinctively, and soon it was completely outside the cage, but so focused on me that it didn't even realize that it was free. Suddenly it sensed that it was out of the cage, and it turned and bolted for the woods. I was most pleased, and thought that this was a fine catch to end the year.
I do not provide actual bobcat capture and removal services. This animal is under the protection of the Florida conservation commission, and in reality bobcats don't cause any problems anyway. It's not like anyone in these suburban homes has a chicken coup for the bobcats to raid. Even if tasked with a bobcat removal request, I don't think I could do it. This was just a matter of chance. The cat must have sniffed something interesting in the trap, such as the scent of a previously caught animal, and decided to investigate. I doubt this wary animal will make the same mistake again!
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Just like other wildcats, bobcats are fierce hunters with distinctive hunting skills. These solitary carnivores prefer to stay in the wild where there is an abundant source of prey. But with the increasing environmental threats that seem to have destroyed their natural habitat, bobcats are beginning to find their way into rural areas and some parts of suburban settlements.
If you have encountered a bobcat around your home or property, it is important that you find a way to trap, control, or remove it from your environment. This cat is a big threat to your livestock and house pets.
Also, you need to understand the fact that bobcats are territorial and will always mark out their territory and areas where there is the availability of prey. So if you have encountered it once around your home, chances are that the cat will find its way back again. This simply means that you shouldn't take chances and feel comfortable even if you have encountered it only once.
How to know if you have a bobcat around your home
Bobcats are silent animals, nevertheless, they still leave traces of their activities that are quite obvious. But for you to notice these, you will have to inspect the surroundings of your home.
Bobcats are slow eaters and will leave the remains of their prey. So if you have a bobcat problem, you will see evidence of slain rabbits, voles, or other small animals.
Just like other wildcats, bobcats do leave tear marks and deep scratches on surfaces. When you notice this on your lawn, this is a sign that you might have a bobcat around your home.
The feces and the strong putrid smell of their urine is another sign of bobcats' activities around your home.
How to trap bobcats
Attempting to trap a bobcat without the assistance of a professional wildlife removal service is quite dangerous. Bobcats are smart animals and will usually not fall victim to a trap. The best thing you can do to get them away is to hire a professional to have them trapped and removed. Another alternative solution is to control them. This works better when it comes to keeping them away from your yard.
How to control bobcats
When it comes to controlling bobcats, the first thing you need to do is to keep your household pets inside at night and enclose your livestock in a secure pen. By doing this, you are removing the motive of the bobcat for wanting to stay around your home. This will make the bobcat leave after staying for a short period of time with no sight of prey.
Another way to keep bobcats away from your home is by installing a 10-foot-high fence. Although, bobcats are excellent jumpers, they shouldn't be able to jump above a fence that high.
Lastly, you need to clean your surroundings and make sure there are no places where bobcats can hide. By doing that, you will be passing a clear signal that they are not invited to your home.