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Bobcats eat pets, livestock, and grandchildren. There are at least three in my neighborhood.

Posted by John T. Reed on

When I moved to Alamo, CA in 1983, I was delighted by the deer, pheasants, quail, raccoons, mallard ducks, and coyotes we would see regularly. The pheasants and quail disappeared shortly afterward apparently by moving up higher on Mount Diablo, a state park. I guess they are people shy.

Then we got two new species who are NOT people shy: wild turkeys and bobcats. There were zero wild turkeys in 1983. Now they are ubiquitous. I am not so fond of them. They are not toilet trained.

I am alarmed by the bobcats. We recently had three playing in my backyard—apparently two juveniles and their mom. I posted the video on Facebook. When they saw me bringing in the trash cans, they acted like I was intruding on their territory. A neighbor saw one carrying a dead cat in its mouth.

Bobcats are carnivorous. They violently attack and kill their food. They do not graze. They eat deer, pets, and grandchildren among other things. They do not attack in packs. They are solitary killers. YouTubes of them attacking the cameramen or others are terrifying.

Nature lovers will say it is my fault, that the bobcats were here before me. No, they were not. No wild turkeys. No bobcats. The bobcats only arrived in the last year or so. I did not encroach on their habitat. Had I known they were here in 1983, I might have ruled the location out. They were not. They are encroaching on my habitat now.

Even if they had been here first, they are incompatible with suburban human settlements. They must be removed by whatever legal means necessary. I do not kill and eat pets or grandchildren or Bambi. Bobcats do all of the above. They also attack to defend their young or themselves and their claws and teeth can and do inflict serious injuries on pets and humans who are not killed by them.

There are plenty of places in California where bobcats can live without clashing with humans. Alamo, Diablo, Danville and so on are not among them.

Discussions on the Net use words like “rarely” and “virtually no threat” and “typically not” when discussing bobcats harming humans or their pets. I expect the articles in question are written by biased wild animal lovers, not EMTs or grieving relatives. Those adverbs will be cold comfort at your granddaughter’s funeral or your grandson’s reconstructive facial surgery. Low probability is not a risk-management technique. It is merely a branch of math used to determine insurance premiums.

All the advice on the Net is to get away from them. What if you can’t? Bobcats can run up to 30 miles an hour and can jump 12 feet straight up. In videos, they look like the accelerate to full speed from a standstill in about half a second. The top speed of human Olympic sprinters is 28 mph.

What if your first awareness is its teeth around your neck? Is there a legal weapon you can carry when you are out for a walk to defend yourself if you accidentally get between a mother and its young?

I used to take walks at night and put the trash out at night. No more.

Net articles say to spray them with water or bang pans or blast an airhorn at them. Who carries such things when they are outdoors? In short, the experts have no practical, useful advice to offer.

We are on our own on this subject. The truth is the environmentalists think the bobcats and other wild animals are morally superior to humans and have the right of way to your child’s jugular vein. But it is also true that you have the legal right to defend yourself and your kids and pets. We are going to have to fill in the defense details without help from the government or experts.

Bobcats are predators who like other predators go after the weak. Domesticated pets, livestock, and human children are easier targets than wild animals. Accordingly, bobcats will prefer them especially the more time they spend in our presence.

The DesertUSA web site says, “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.”
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That website also says, “in Fiscal Year 2003, bobcats killed 8 calves, 73 sheep, 453 lambs, 389 goats and 864 chickens as well as numerous other fowl across 22 states, according to federal Wildlife Services statistics (as noted by Hansen). Undoubtedly, bobcats killed other animals and fowl that went unreported.”

“In calendar year 2004, noted Hansen, bobcats killed an estimated 11,100 sheep and lambs across the nation, according to U. S. Department of Agriculture statistics. This accounted for a loss of some $814,000. By comparison, coyotes killed an estimated 135,600; dogs, 29,800; pumas, 12,700; bears, 8,500; eagles, 6,300; and foxes, 4,200. Collectively, these predators accounted for losses of some $17,500,000. (The estimates of the numbers of animals killed have some imprecision because of some randomness in the survey and uncertainty in predator identification.)

I will send this to the Sheriff. I hope they will take action, but I have already seen local newspaper articles about the recent appearance of the bobcats and the articles were of the “Oh, aren’t the bobcats cute?” genre.

One warning online should be adhered to in this area: Do no put food out for any wild animals. It attracts dangerous animals like bobcats, coyotes, and rabid animals.

If you or your pet is attacked by a bobcat, try to kill it and make sure you take the bobcat carcass to the doctors so they can test it for rabies. If you do not, they will assume it had rabies and give you painful shots to prevent you from dying from it.

If you are a bobcat lover, Google the phrase “Bobcat attack.” Then select videos. That will sober you up real fast.


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