FRAMINGHAM – An Framingham resident captured a photo of a bobcat in their back yard this morning, May 23, around 8 a.m.
The bobcat, only wild cat found in Massachusetts, was spotted in the backyard of an Edmands Road family, who submitted this photo to SOURCE.
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, bobcats are common in the central and western parts of the state, but have been present in the eastern part of the state too.
“Bobcats deal with human influences but tend to avoid areas with extensive agriculturally cleared lands that eliminate other habitat types. Bobcats are adapting to suburban settings and may be seen in backyards and residential areas. Bobcats rarely cause conflicts with human activities,” according to MassWildlife.
Attacks by bobcats on humans are rare.
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
- When possible make a lot of noise (banging pans, for example)
Normally if a bobcat approaches a human or seems aggressive towards you it is most likely sick or rabid. If that appears the case go indoor immediately and call Mass Environmental Police or MassWildlife.
Bobcats breed from February through March. They are polygamous and do not form lasting pair bonds, according to Massachusetts Wildlife.
The young are born after a 62-day gestation period in April or May, according to Massachusetts Wildlife.
Females produce one litter each year consisting of 1–4 kittens, with an average litter size of 2. The female is the exclusive provider and the male does not participate in raising the young, according to massachusetts Wildlife.
At one month of age, the young begin taking solid food and venturing from the den. The young remain with the adult female until they are full grown, usually through their first fall or winter, according to Massachusetts Wildlife.
Bobcats live an average of a dozen years in the wild and females continue to produce one litter per year until death, according to Massachusetts Wildlife.
“Bobcats are an important natural resource in Massachusetts. They are classified as a furbearer species, for which a management program and regulated hunting and trapping seasons have been established,” according to the Commonwealth.
As carnivores, bobcats most commonly prey on medium-sized animals such as rabbits and hares but will eat mice, squirrels, skunks, opossums, muskrats, birds, and snakes.
Occasionally bobcats will prey on larger animals such as deer but this is generally when other food items are scarce.
Bobcats hunt by stalking prey until they are close enough to pounce. They may also wait on a trail or in a tree to ambush prey or run down prey over short distances. Although bobcats have a fairly good sense of smell, they rely primarily on their keen eyesight and hearing to detect both prey and danger, according to MassWildlife.
When food is plentiful, they will cache the excess by covering it with leaves, grass, or snow and return to feed on it repeatedly. Bobcats are shy, solitary, and generally elusive. While usually silent, bobcats can produce a large repertoire of noises. A bobcat may scowl, snarl, and spit when confronted with danger and may be heard screaming during the breeding season, according to MassWildlife.
If you are experiencing problems with bobcats or have questions, contact MassWildlife at 508-389-6300.