Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hey, Is That a Bobcat in My Backyard?

More and more people have webcams on their property for security, but sometimes they also capture wildlife.

Here's an example of one that was sent to me recently. (The animal in question appears about 1:40 into the video)



The owner asks if it is a bobcat or lynx?

Bobcats, or Lynx rufus, do exist in our state. The smallest species of lynx is the bobcat.

Speaking of sightings, here is a common query that the NJDEP, Audubon and even this blog gets. What is this animal?
"There is not a year that goes by where I do not meet someone who knows someone who heard of a guy that either swears he saw or heard that there was a sighting of a mountain lion roaming the woods and fields of N.J. in recent years. In fact, we here at N.J. Audubon also get actual "physical evidence" of these sightings in the form of emailed photos."

No mountain lions in N.J. They were here a long time ago, but they became extinct here with the last animals killed in Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties between 1830 and 1840.

But the bobcat - that is N.J.'s only wild cat.   Is that what is in the video?

Bobcat feeding via wdfw.wa.gov

Here are some facts to consider:
  • They are active all throughout the year, especially at night. 
  • They can weigh between 15-35 pounds and are about twice the size of a house cat.
  • Look for small ear tufts
  • They can have tan, black and white spots and stripes fur
  • They have a short "bobbed" tail with black only on top at the tip. 
  • Though the bobcat prefers to hunt rabbits and hares, it will hunt anything from insects, chickens, geese and other birds and small rodents to deer. 
  • They are territorial and largely solitary. To mark its territorial boundaries it will leave claw marks and deposits of urine or feces.
Is that a bobcat in the video?
Post your answer as a comment below.

Bobcat seen on a trail camera near Blairstown, Nov. 2011 via nj.com

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