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Ward 14 - Peter Demong

Living with Bobcats

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We are lucky to live in a place that offers so many opportunities to leave the city temporarily to be in more natural areas. This also means that we sometimes see wildlife within our streets. Wild animals can be beautiful but sharing our space can also lead to conflict. When those animals are clever and predatory like a bobcat it can lead to serious situations. Below I have compiled some information on how to live with bobcats in your neighbourhood.

About Bobcats

Bobcats are the smallest of Alberta's wild cats - about twice the size of a domestic cat. They have a bobbed tail that gives them their name, black-tufted ears and dark markings for camouflage. Bobcat sightings are becoming increasingly common in parts of southern Alberta, but anyone who follows a community Facebook group in the south of Calgary probably already knows this. They are naturally shy of humans and are normally active at sunrise and sunset. Rabbits, hares, and other small mammals like mice and squirrels are their primary prey.

Bobcats are highly adaptable and if living in or near human development may lose their fear of people and the noises of the city. These bobcats may also learn to become more active at any time of the day. Bobcat kittens are usually born April to June, and they stay with their mother for up to a year.

It is extremely unlikely that a bobcat will attack a human. They are opportunistic hunters. If bobcats are known to be in the area, keep cats indoors and supervise small dogs when they are in the yard, as they may be vulnerable.

How to prevent bobcats from coming to your property

To prevent conflict with bobcats, remove the food, shelter or water that may attract them to your property:

  • Do not feed wildlife.
  • Keep your garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Put your garbage and recycling out only on the morning of collection, not earlier.
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors.
  • Remove bird feeders and bird baths so bobcats are not drawn into your yard to prey on the birds.
  • Trees, shrubs and even grass should be kept trimmed so there is no shelter for bobcats to hide in. Spaces under decks and outbuildings should be closed off for the same reason.
  • Add motion detector lighting to walkways and driveways.
  • Dogs, rabbits, chickens or other animals that live outdoors should be kept in a secure enclosure with a strong roof.

Contact

The Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers will respond when there is a threat to public safety. Call Alberta Fish and Wildlife if you are concerned for your own safety or the safety of others:

·         Calgary office (403-297-6423).

You should also tell The City about your sighting by contacting 311. Wildlife sightings help us make better choices about land management. 

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