Wildlife: Bobcat

Are you experiencing an issue with wildlife in your area?  If you have an urgent concern, please get in touch with us right away.  If you are looking for more information, please click on one of the questions below to expand the content and find your answer.  If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at DFW Wildlife Coalition.

Mother bobcats are single moms. They must protect their young from normal predators and adult male bobcats who will prey on the kits. She may have found that your yard was a safe place to leave her kits while she hunts for food. She is opportunistic which means she may hunt at night or day whenever the intended prey is available such as a squirrel, rabbit or rat. She could also be napping in the den or shade. The kits will be playful and adventurous. Often, they will venture out of the den as they get older. Don’t be alarmed. You may discourage the mother from leaving her family in your yard with a few deterrents, read FAQ on how to evict.
If you are concerned that the kits may need to be rescued, consider the following:
  • The kit is continually vocalizing and wondering around in your yard
  • Fire ants or flies are present
  • Obvious injury
  • You have observed a dead adult in your neighborhood
  • You are aware that an adult was trapped or killed in your neighborhood
  • You or your neighbor have used rat poison
  • The kit is lethargic and very thin
  • Eyes are closed, and the baby appears to have crawled out of a den
Observe for a couple of hours unless the animal is in distress. If warranted and you can safely do so, place an inverted laundry basket over the kit to contain, while you wait for the mother to retrieve.
If the mother bobcat does not retrieve the young kit, consult with the hotline and or a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in bobcats. It is important to keep wild babies with their family. Unfortunately, humans can cause disruption of the family by trapping, killing, and or by hitting with an automobile.
  • If the animal has been hit by a car, attacked by a cat or dog, and, an adult can safely do so, a helping hand is appreciated.
  • Your personal safety is first and foremost.  Gloves are recommended. If you do not have gloves use fabric such as a towel, T-shirt, or whatever fabric you may have on hand.  Cover the injured animal as this will reduce stress and assist in protecting yourself.  
  • When a mammal is covered, depending on the species, they may still move or struggle, however it will be reduced as compared to not covering the animal as you are reducing the fear of the animal by blocking their vision.  
  • Never pick an animal up by the tail.
  • If the animal is an adult rabies vector, raccoon, fox, coyote or skunk please contact authorities for assistance.
  • An injured animal will try to defend itself.  Do not pick the animal up unless you can safely do so.  If you are bitten or scratched, and the animal is a rabies vector it will have to be tested for rabies.  So, do not risk yourself as you are also jeopardizing the animal’s life.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Remember if you cannot contain safely, contact authorities for assistance or call the hotline at, 972-234-9453.
  • Read FAQ: How to contain and prepare wildlife for transport
  • Read FAQ: Ways to provide heat for orphan or injured wild animal
  • Read FAQ: How to locate a wildlife rehabilitator

Thank you for being a caring person and for taking the time to save wildlife! Once you have identified an animal in need of care, it will be necessary to contain the animal so that it can be safely transported to a permitted animal rehabilitator. Only adults should handle wildlife, provided it can be done safely.

Steps in the Transport Process:

  1. Choose an appropriate container for transport.
    Containers need to be chosen based on the wildlife being rescued/transported. For tiny to small animals, a shoe box with a few extra air holes poked from the inside out works well. For medium to older babies, use a small to medium pet carrier or larger box. If using a pet carrier, cover the carrier to make the inside dark.  For adult animals, be sure the container has a lid and that the animal cannot chew through or get out of the container. Remember darkness helps the animal to relax. Never transport with an open container!
  2. Prepare your container
    Provide soft bedding. An old T-shirt or similar fabric is ideal. Avoid fabrics with large loops or an extremely open weave. Towels, terry cloth, and similar fabrics have threads that can get wrapped around little toes and ankles and cut off circulation.
  3. Placing animals in the container
    For baby animals, use an old T-shirt or wear gloves to gently pick up and place the baby wildlife in the container.  Older wildlife will definitely require gloves and the T-shirt or a towel In order to have adequate fabric between you and the terrified animal.  The towel serves two purposes: aids in protecting your hands and covers the little animal’s eyes to make it less afraid as you pick up and place in the container.
  4. Provide heat source.  Read FAQ “Ways to provide heat for orphaned or injured wild animal”.
  5. Reach out to a professional.
    Contact DFW Wildlife Coalition hotline 972-234-9453 or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for instructions and information on when and where to transport. The hotline is staffed by volunteers and rehabilitators might be caring for animals when you call. It may take an hour or so for a return phone call. Until then, keep the container in a quite dark place away from family pets and children.
  6. Be prepared to transport as soon as possible.
    If you are personally unavailable, check with friends, family, or neighbors.  Often there is someone willing to participate in the rescue. If you still are having difficulty check with your HOA, neighborhood app or Facebook.  Uber is an option as well.
  7. During the transport process:
    ** Please refrain from using the radio while driving. The little life you are transporting is very afraid and the radio will only add to its stress.
    ** Please do not transport in the bed of a pickup truck! Wind, road noise, and extreme temperatures could further compromise the animal.
  8. Meeting the Rehabber:
    When meeting the rehabilitation professional and handing off the animal, please remember to give details of the rescue to the rehabber.
    ** A donation towards the care of the animal would also be deeply appreciated by the rehabber. Rehabilitators do not receive assistance from city or state agencies.

Thank you for being a caring person and for taking the time to save wildlife!

Saving a life begins with making sure an orphaned or injured animal has heat. Begin by providing soft bedding for the animal you are rescuing. An old T-shirt or similar fabric is ideal. Avoid fabrics with large loops or an extremely open weave. Towels, terry cloth, and similar fabrics have threads that can get wrapped around little toes and ankles and cut off circulation.

Once you have provided bedding, the next step is to supply warmth. Holding or placing an animal in your pocket is not an adequate or safe way to keep the baby warm.  It is also terrifying for the animal. Remember, to the animal you are rescuing, you are a predator!

Warming techniques:

  • Place 1 cup of uncooked rice in a sock and tie or rubber band the open end. Place in the microwave for 1 minute. If not warm, heat another 30-60 seconds until the sock is warm but NOT HOT. If you don’t have rice, try lentils or similar product.
  • Put hot water in a bottle and place the bottle in a sock. This is a good solution if you are traveling or at the office.
  • If it will be several hours until you can transport the animal to a rehabilitator, use a heating pad set on low.  It is very important to place heating pad under one half of the container only so that the animal can choose the side of the container it prefers.  When checking on the baby, it should be warm but not sweaty or hot.
    • CAUTION: Newer heating pads have automatic shut offs that you may need to monitor if you are keeping the animal overnight.  

The rice sock or hot water bottle will travel with the animal as you are transporting to a wildlife rehabilitator.  Each can be reheated as needed and normally they will each hold the temperature long enough to transport the animal to safety.

There are several options for you as you begin your search for professional help for an animal in need. Remember, the wild animal you have rescued should be respected as such. Please keep children and pets away from wild animals

 

  • DFW Wildlife Coalition telephone hotline 972-234-WILD or 972-234-9453
    Hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days per year.  Our 100{376de46712742e812dd3d98559fb34c156542d2d9d295b06b04bc04c2527f5a7} volunteer operated hotline will assist in finding a wildlife rehabilitator that specializes in the wildlife or type of injury, orphaned, and or conflict or concern you may have.  
  • Animal Help Now (www.ahnow.org)
    If you have called the DFW Wildlife Coalition and it is after hours, you cannot reach a volunteer, or you live outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and surrounding counties, you may find a wildlife rehabilitator at Animal Help Now website (www.ahnow.org).  Animal Help Now is a national database of wildlife or veterinarian professionals.

 

You may download Animal Help Now, free application for either iPhone or Android called “Animal Help Now”.  This app will work on GPS lists wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians based on hours of operation.  You may need to search in surrounding cities or counties. If you are searching late at night, you may want to check again in the morning in the event there are other options.  

If you cannot locate a rehabilitator or transport the animal immediately, provide heat all night and do not attempt to feed.  Most animals will not eat when in pain and you can do more harm than good by force feeding or providing food. Please refrain from handling needlessly. Remember, you are a predator and may be causing undo stress and fear.  Prey species can die from stress.  

As tempting as it might be to keep the animal and attempt to care for it yourself, please remember that it is illegal to keep a wild animal. Delay in transporting may be the difference in life or death and the animals best chance at survival rests with being placed with a permitted professional.  If you delay, you might compromise the recovery of the animal you have rescued.

 

ONCE YOU HAVE LOCATED A REHABILITATION PROFESSIONAL

  • Be prepared to transport as quickly as possible once you have located a rehabilitation professional.  If you know that you cannot do so, please reach out to neighbors, family and friends for help in transporting the life you have rescued. Wildlife rehabilitators have their hands full providing feedings, medical attention, and husbandry to the animals in their care; they typically do not have the time or volunteers to pick up wildlife.  If you still cannot locate transportation, please reach out to friends in your HOA, neighborhood app, or Facebook. Uber might also be an option for transport.
  • Once you have placed your animal with the rehabber and provided information about its history with you, please donate to the wildlife rehabilitator as they do not receive assistance from city or state agencies.

Thank you for being a caring person and for taking the time to save wildlife!

  • Wildlife that is nocturnal will on occasion, especially while lactating, forage during the day.
  • If you observe a wild animal traveling from point A to point B, this would be considered normal healthy behavior.
  • Behavior to be concerned with is an animal that is lingering and not alert of the dogs or humans nearby.

Raccoons, skunks, fox, and coyote are susceptible to canine distemper and parvo.  Bobcats, raccoons, skunks and fox are susceptible to panleukopenia. Responsible pet owners vaccinate their pets annually for these diseases.  However, wildlife does not have the benefit of vaccines. Often an animal that is lingering and unaware of activity is suffering from distemper. Symptoms include:

  • Out during the day.  The difference is the animal is just lying in the yard and does not care what is happening around them such as barking dogs or people.
  • dragging hind legs, twitching, seizures, symptoms of nervous system disease
  • appearing to be tame
  • staggering   
  • matted eyes, or nasal discharge

These symptoms can also be rabies.  In Texas, there are very few incidences of rabies in the raccoon, coyote, fox, or bobcat however eastern states do see a greater incidence of rabies in the raccoon.  In the DFW area, we see an occasional skunk with rabies.

A sick animal needs to be removed by your city animal services and euthanized.  Distemper is not curable and is an air borne virus that is contagious.  People cannot contract distemper. Removal protects the rest of the wildlife.  Euthanasia is humane as the sick animal is suffering a lingering death. Most wildlife rehabilitators do not have the resources to euthanize for the public and do not want to introduce viruses to their existing animals in their care.

Please do not feed wildlife such as raccoons.  The transmission of distemper usually occurs when someone is intentionally feeding, and unrelated raccoons dine together.  The results are devastating as neighborhood populations die off. Show respect by not feeding wildlife.

For more information on rabies please the visit Center for Disease Control; https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/location/usa/surveillance/human_rabies.html

For the annual report documenting cases of rabies in Texas:

Texas Health and Human service annual report


Seeing a bobcat in your neighborhood affects everyone differently. Through education, fear can be replaced with an understanding of the bobcat and its valuable role in rodent control in our cities.
A recent study, “Bobcat City-Studying Urban Cats-Texas Parks and Wildlife”, was conducted in the DFW Metroplex. The link is provided below.
First, you will find the basic rules on how to discourage bobcats and other wild animals in the FAQ Basic conflict resolution of our urban predators”. Recommend that you read as the information is applicable to the bobcat.
Below is information specific to the bobcat.
  • First rule:  NEVER FEED WILDLIFE!
  • Manage your pets especially if they are small like the size of a rabbit as they can be taken as prey.
  • If you see a bobcat, make it a negative experience by shouting, hitting pots and pans, throw a rock, squirt water from a hose.  WILDLIFE NEEDS TO REMAIN AFRAID OF HUMANS.
  • When jogging or walking, simply raise your arms to appear larger and yell forcefully while looking directly at the bobcat is the simplest way to haze.
    • However, you can use a noise deterrent such as rocks/coins in a metal can, a whistle, or a horn.
  • Never run from a bobcat, as this can encourage chasing.  Remember stand tall, yell, and look directly at bobcat.
  • Bobcats are not known to attack humans. Bobcats are naturally fearful of humans… let’s keep it that way!
  • RECAP:  NO FEEDING, REDUCE SHELTER OPPORTUNITES, USE NEGATIVE DETERRENTS TO KEEP WILDLIFE WILD.  
  • Share and educate your neighbors.
  • Below is a link on how to haze a coyote. The information is applicable to a bobcat. Recommend reading.

Video of Tarrant County Study: “Bobcat City-Studying Urban Cats-Texas Parks and Wildlife”


For more information: “Coyote Hazing Guideline”

Video on how to haze a coyote, the same technique for a bobcat

Mammal predators in our cities include, bobcats, coyotes, and to a lesser degree raccoons, foxes, skunks and opossum.  Their diets consist of a wide range of insects, lizards, frogs, snakes, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrel, and ducks. All except the bobcat are omnivores which extends their diet to also include plants such as fruits, berries, and nuts.  A quick look around in your neighborhood, you will understand there is plenty of food. We have made those food sources even denser with accessible dumpsters and feeding of wildlife such as ducks at the park, bird or squirrel feeders in our yards.  In fact, food is so plentiful that hunting is not always a requirement when you can quickly dive into a dumpster and dine on our leftovers.

As our cities grow, we have encouraged developers to build green areas and water features in our planned communities.  We enjoy a daily walk or run or a visit to the greenbelt to watch the birds, ducks and squirrels. Often, we are willing to pay extra for those experiences.

Many have worried that continued encroachment of our cities might be devasting to our wildlife.  Our mid-range mammals have successfully adapted and our thriving in our cities. Basic needs of food, water and shelter are abundant.  

As our wildlife has adapted, many studies have been conducted and revealed that traditional trapping of wildlife does not solve the urban wildlife conflict.  Because food, water and shelter are so plentiful the removal of an animal just leaves the remaining animals larger territories to raise their family successfully. Another consideration is when the predator prey balance is disturbed there is an increase in rodent and rabbit populations.  Increased rodent population can be a health risk. Our urban predators naturally avoid human contact. Studies have also revealed that our urban predators are territorial and when relocated rarely survive.

Conflicts can be resolved with removal of the basic three needs of food, water, and shelter.

  • First rule:  NEVER FEED WILDLIFE!
    • Remove and or secure all food sources such as garbage, bird and squirrel feeders, pet food, or fallen fruit or nuts/acorns.
    • If you want to feed the birds, please put a day’s portion of seed when you can enjoy the songbirds.
    • Place your garbage out the morning of pick up.  If you must place out the night before, put half a cup of ammonia in the can to discourage rummaging.  Keep dumpster doors and lids closed.
    • Do not keep pet food out.  If you must feed your dog outside, please pick up any remaining food after 30-40 minutes.  Consider feeding indoors to prevent fire ants and flies in your pet’s food.
    • When feeding feral cats, alter the time of feeding frequently.
    • Do not store pet food or seeds in your garage or out buildings unless secured in a container that cannot be opened or chewed.
  • Manage pets.
    • When outside, supervise small pets and keep on a leash by your side when walking.  Keep small pets indoors.
    • Vaccinate your pets annually.
    • Bobcats, coyotes, hawks, eagles, and owls do not typically search for pets, however smaller than a rabbit size pet could be mistaken as prey.
    • Recommendations are to keep cats indoors as there are multiple dangers in our communities such as cars, disease, cat fights, dogs, hawks, owls, coyotes and bobcats.  
    • Cats are the major cause of song birds, rabbits, baby opossums, and baby squirrels admissions to a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Water your lawns during the day. Adjust sprinkler systems to prevent pooling of water.
  • Avoid allowing landscape to become overgrown.  
    • Thin brushy areas.  
    • Don’t keep junk piles or accumulate debris.
  • Seal areas that could become den sites such as under a storage shed, a deck, or under a pier and beam home.
  • Teach children to respect and never approach or touch wildlife.  Explain the wildlife’s role in our cities and to always get an adult to help if wildlife is in need.  Small children should always be supervised as there are many dangers in our cities.
  • Most conflicts are a result of feeding wildlife which causes habituation that leads to unnatural behavior and conflict.
  • Share this information with your neighbors, family and friends.  Through education and responsible behavior, animals and humans can coexist in our cities.

A good video showing predator prey in an urban eco-system

If you have a wild neighbor, such as a coyote, fox or bobcat occupying your yard or under your deck or storage building, it is easy to encourage them to relocate. Trapping is not recommended as babies are very often left behind. It is difficult to trap a whole family such as with the coyote or fox that would include both parents. The bobcat is a single mother as the male will kill the kits. Territorial animals rarely survive relocation, especially a wild mother with babies that will be forced to abandon her family to survive. Relocation contributes to the spread of disease such as rabies, canine distemper or panleukopenia.
Eviction is a simpler solution because you do not have to relocate, and the family will remain intact. With deterrents you encourage the wild neighbor to vacate and take her young which prevents orphaning. Eviction is the most humane solution.
Often the discovery of the den is enough for the parents to move the family. Encourage them to move by leaving lights on in the yard. In a couple of days, if they have not moved proceed with an eviction.
To evict you will need a light (possibly an extension cord), a portable radio, apple cider vinegar and some rags. A utility clamp light purchased at your local hardware store is very handy to use.
  • You must do the eviction at dusk because you are evicting a nocturnal animal.
  • At dusk light the den area.
  • Turn the radio on a 24-hour talk or rap station and place at the den.
  • These two deterrents are normally enough.
  • You may add the third deterrent the apple cider vinegar-soaked rags at the den, especially if it takes more than one night to complete the eviction.
  • You must turn these deterrents off at dawn.
The wild mother will be alarmed at these deterrents and will move to another den site. These deterrents are a threat to the young family while the parent(s) are out hunting/foraging. Remember they prefer quiet dark locations and you just created the opposite conditions. If there are babies, the parent(s) will begin to move the babies one at a time unless they are able to follow the parent.
At dawn when you turn the deterrents off, plug the entry hole if it was a den under a shed etc., with paper or tape a plastic trash bag over the hole. The purpose is not to restrict entry, it is to alert you as to activity coming and going.
  • If the plugged entry is left untouched for 24-hours the wild family has moved. If there is still activity repeat the deterrents as above and include the apple cider vinegar-soaked rags for the second night. Dawn of the second morning, again turn deterrents off and plug the hole to monitor for activity. When babies are involved it may take two nights for the mother to relocate the babies.
  • Once there is no activity, immediately repair or at the very minimum cover the entry with hardware cloth and a ¾ to 1-inch sturdy staple.
  • When the den was under a deck, you should consider installing a skirt to prevent future entry of wild neighbors. Read FAQ: How to prevent raccoons from finding shelter on your property or home
  • A special note, if there are adverse weather conditions that may limit the mother’s activity, wait to begin the eviction as you do not want the mother to become accustom to the deterrents.
Remember prevention is the best solution. Keeping wildlife babies with their natural mother is the most humane solution. The simple use of deterrents is effective. If you are having difficulty or need advice, please contact the wildlife hotline. If you suspect the mother left a baby behind, call the hotline before you act.