The Florida bobcat

Just when I thought that I've seen it all...

The Florida bobcat is a land mammal in the Felidae family. It is not as uncommon as you might think.

These cats are about twice the size of a domestic house cat. The one I happened to capture was an extremely large specimen. I would estimate it weighing in at about fifty pounds. I've seen these bobcats up around the lake Rousseau area in Dunnellon. They usually come out at dusk and sometimes a mother can be found with her kittens foraging the area. I also had an incident with a bobcat near Lake Weir some years ago in the back of a clients out-building. I came upon the bobcat and surprised it. Luckily, it slowly walked off with its head turned, never taking its eyes of me. I've had two close encounters with these animals. Both times, I was lucky.

The Florida bobcat | Meryl's Pest Control

This Florida bobcat was captured using tilapia as bait.

As I eluded to earlier, the bobcat is a carnivorous scavenger eating everything from other mammals to insects. They usually stay in a range from between one to two miles. Bobcat attacks on humans are rare but they do occur. Usually, when a bobcat attacks a human it is because it's rabid. This is especially so if the bobcat is encountered during the day. It's also not uncommon to encounter a healthy bobcat during the same hours. The point is that a rabid bobcat is more likely to attack you than a healthy one. Although dangerous, I think just about anyone can appreciate and admire their beauty and impressive appearance.

Florida trap and release law

I think it's an appropriate time to discuss the state of Florida's trap and release law which applies to trapping an animal without harming it. To release any animal that can be considered a nuisance, it is illegal to release any such animal on someones private property or any state owned lands. This includes nature parks. In order to legally release any such animal, one must obtain a signed letter from the owner of the property giving permission to do so. The owner of the said property must own a minimum of forty (40) acres. This includes bobcats, raccoons, opossums and other animals that can be considered a nuisance. Live-captured nuisance wildlife must be released legally or euthanized humanely within 24 hours of capture or trap inspection. You can find all the details here.

It should go without saying that if you encounter a bobcat in the wild you should not approach it or attempt to capture it. Avoid running away because this could trigger a pursuit response.