Backyard Visitor

Alert — and intrigued — “06880” reader Madison Malin spotted this in her Bonnie Brook Road backyard:

“Is it a young bobcat?” the Staples High School senior asks.

If you can identify this animal — and know anything about its habits — click “Comments” below.

36 responses to “Backyard Visitor

  1. Yes, it’s a lynx – or commonly called a bobcat. They are very secretive and reclusive – and nocturnal – so you don’t see them very often. I’ve only seen them twice in the 28 years I’ve lived here. Gorgeous animals! We are lucky to have them in our midst.

    • Mr. Buckman, since you’re presently rewriting your proposed ordinance to allow for the trapping and killing of coyotes on private property – as well as in our town parks – perhaps you should add this beautiful animal to your hit list.

      Hurry, we don’t want any more children to be eaten.

      • Trish Lawrence

        No animal should be trapped and killed. My neighbor used to trap raccoons and have her landscaper drop the traps in grays creek to drown them. Well one day he was dragging the cage over to the dock to drop it and low and behold my coon cat was in it. He had been missing for a couple of weeks and I thought a coyote or fox had gotten him, but if they become a problem they can be humanely trapped and transferred to somewhere more rural.

        • That’s an awful story about your poor cat, Trish. Obviously, I share your views on trapping and killing animals. By the way, I believe it’s illegal to move coyotes or foxes because they’re considered rabies vectors. Any such animals caught in a trap have be killed.

          • That’s correct, Morley. There is no question that these trapped animals are killed. No such thing as a relocation program!

        • Sharon Paulsen

          Wow Trish, that’s horrible what happened to your Coon kitty.

          I love Maine Coons, as well as Norwegian Forest cats. They are such expressive, and wholly “present” animals (of the kitty variety, that is).

          Can we assume that your cat was safely returned to you then, based on that discovery? (I’d love to hear a happy ending).

    • Myles A. MacVane

      Not a mountain lion, not furry enough to be a lynx (nor are it’s paws big enogh; lynx are adapted for deep snow), nor big enuoh, so what’s left? A large, feral, Maine ‘coon cat, or a bobcat. I’ll go with the bobcat.
      P.S. Lynx and bobcat are two very different beasties!

      • Lynx is the genus of medium-sized wild cats which includes the bobcat. Bobcats are the smallest of the lynx species. Look it up.

    • I LIVE IN PORT ST LUCIE FLORIDA AND A GATED COMMUNITY. WE HAVE THE SAINT HILL CRANES PRESERVE SURROUNDING ALL THE COMMUNITY. WE HAVE PLENTY AND I MEAN PLENTY OF BOB CATS, FLORIDA PANTHERS, COYOTES, BESIDES THE ALWAYS: ARMADILLOS, RACCOONS , POSSUMS ETC. OUR WILD LIFE LIVES IN TOTAL HARMONY WITH THE RESIDENTS AND THEIR PETS. THEY HAVE PLENTY OF RABBITS, BIRDS WHICH ARE THEIR FAVORITE FOOD. RIGHT BEHIND MY HOUSE. THERE IS A FEMALE BIG BOB CAT AND SHE WALKS AROUND THE HOUSE NICE AND SLOW WITH NOT FEAR OF BEING BOTHER SINCE THIS IS A 55 AND OLDER COMMUNITY. I LEARN TO DO THE CALL OF A BOB CAT AND WITHIN 10 MINUTES I FEEL HER STEPS BECAUSE IS MOSTLY AT DARK WHEN SHE FEELS COMFORTABLE ENOUGH. SHE WATCHES ME PLAYING BALL WITH MY LITTLE DOG ON LATE AFTERNOON AND I KNOW SHE LOVES IT. SHE WILL NEVER HARM MY LITTLE DOG EVEN IF HE WOULD WONDER BY HIMSELF. SHE STAYS BACK FROM HIM. RIGHT NOW SHE IS WATCHING ME WRITING I CAN FEEL HER IN THERE AND IS JUST 3 PM. I ADORE ANIMALS. I FEEL VERY BLESSED TO LIVE IN A PLACE SURROUNDED WITH SUCH MAGNIFICENT CREATURES.

  2. The ears look too round to be a bobcat. Could it be a cougar? They are native, though rare, to CT.

  3. Morning!

    I sent this along to Gregg Dancho, Director of the Beardsley Zoo….might be able to identify and advise! K

    Kathleen Maher Executive Director Barnum Museum 820 Main Street Bridgeport, CT 06604 203-331-1104 ext. 100 barnum-museum.org

    *”The Noblest Art is that of Making Others Happy”* P.T. Barnum, 1886

  4. Matthew Mandell

    Wonderful. It sure looks like a bobcat. I have seen a couple up on Partrick Road by the Wetlands over the years.

    I sure hope we don’t now get a petition to the RTM to trap these guys too.

    FYI – in the Longshore area, the animal that many are calling a coyote is actually a mange ridden female fox with babies. Animal folks to looking for ways to dose the animal to help it’s health.

  5. Oops, bobcats are actually diurnal – active in the daytime – although the only two I’ve ever seen have been at dusk and in the dead of night.

    This photo is pretty grainy, so it’s hard to tell whether this cat has tufts on its ears. In any case, I’m quite sure it’s a bobcat. Cougars don’t have markings like this cat. Bobcats are common in our woodlands.

  6. Yep, that’s definitely a nice healthy looking Bobcat. Sometimes it’s hard to see the fine black tufts of hair on the top of their ears. We have two that live in our backyard/woods up here in Deep River CT.

  7. That does appear to be a bobcat. Tom Ryder, Biologist and Wetland Scientist at LANDTECH, the evironmental engineering firm here in Westport, confirms that “Bobcats are indigenous to Connecticut and it’s a genuine treat to spot one in the wild. They dont pose a danger to people but of course, being wild predators, they should be given a wide berth.”

  8. Dick Lowenstein

    What is the approximate distance from the animal’s ear to the ground? I’ve seen domestic cats that have the same appearance.

  9. Molly McGrath

    It was only a matter of time. Since no one in the county wants to tackle the exploding deer population, perhaps we finally have some bobcat leadership. All natural—who can complain?

  10. Yes it’s a bobcat and we have them here in my neighborhood, Melbourne Village, Florida.

  11. Prefers to be called “Robert”.

  12. Yes a bobcat!
    Nice!!!

  13. Trish Lawrence

    I’d be more afraid of that cat named Robert than a bear. This one hunts with incredible stealth! I have a coon cat and trust me he wouldn’t stand a chance against him, but I don’t think he wants to bother humans. Still small animals and toddlers should not be left unattended in your yard.

  14. That’s correct, Morley.

  15. Looks like a mountain lion to me!

  16. If it’s a Mt. Lion, it must be sitting on it looong tail.

  17. Sal Gilbertie

    That appears to be an adult Bobcat. Have seen them fairly frequently during daylight hours over the past few years crossing Rt. 136 in the Coleytown School area. They are fascinating animals. They do not like human interaction of any sort; you are lucky to have seen this one and been able to snap a photo.
    From the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s website:
    “The DEEP Wildlife Division continues to record bobcat sightings and also document the number of bobcats hit and killed by vehicles on Connecticut roadways. Between 20 and 30 vehicle-killed bobcats are collected annually and examined for physical condition, age, and breeding condition. Bobcat sightings can be reported to the Wildlife Division at deep.wildlife@ct.gov or by calling 860-424-3011. Information needed is your name and contact information, as well as the date, location, and time of sighting.”
    (We found a dead one on our Easton farm last year and contacted DEEP; they came out right away and determined it had been hit by a car and they took the animal for further research.) The full DEEP web page on Bobcats can be found here: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=325974&deepNav_GID=1655

  18. It is so refreshing to read the love and respect of the Bobcats and other wild animals, many of who were here before us.

  19. Myles A. MacVane

    Not a mountain lion, not furry enough to be a lynx (nor are it’s paws big enogh; lynx are adapted for deep snow), nor big enuoh, so what’s left? A large, feral, Maine ‘coon cat, or a bobcat. I’ll go with the bobcat.

    • FYI – the Bobcat’s species name/binomial name is Lynx Rufus. They are a type of lynx and not “different beasts” at all. In any case, they are gorgeous cats and we’re lucky to have them in our midst, and luckier still to see them on occasion. I saw one in winter sitting on a stone wall in the woods and I was awestruck at its beauty and magnificence.

  20. Patricia Higgins Muskus

    It looks like a bobcat to me. I have one that goes across my back yard almost every day. So beautiful. We see them often around here. Thank you for the great pictures and info. Brings back so many fond memories as we lived in Greens Farms for 24 years. Still miss it. all the children graduated from Staples High School.
    Patricia Higgins Muskus

  21. Laura Kaufman

    This photo was taken very close to our home and it is quite likely that this is the animal that killed our family dog just two months ago. I am all for appreciating nature and allowing for all of God creatures to inhabit the earth, but if you had seen what this (or some other wild animal…we are not sure exactly what kind) did to our sweet little Havanese dog, you would not be able to call it “beautiful” or “gorgeous.” My dog was covered from head to neck to abdomen to tail in bloody bite marks and spent four hours howling in agonizing pain as we rushed her to the emergency vet, tried to treat her wounds, consulted about surgery and finally had to watch her be euthanized. My husband and I spent the next day and another three days over the next two weeks (not to mention thousands of dollars) in the emergency room receiving multiple rabies vaccines due to our exposure. Westport is a suburban environment with small children and pets everywhere. It is dangerous to have so many wild animals living among us. There should most certainly be animal control laws in place to keep our children, pets and ourselves safe.

  22. Since you’re not certain just WHAT kind of animal killed your dog, Ms. Kaufman, would you suggest a program to eliminate ALL carnivorous, four legged predators? Or just “Bob Cats”,since you THINK that MIGHT be the animal that, most unfortunately, killed your dog.

    • Laura Kaufman

      Your lack of compassion is a bit shocking and certainly disappointing. However, to answer your question, I believe the safety of humans (and domesticated pets) must take precedence over the rights of any and all wild animals and they should be eliminated in a humane way from our suburbs (or at least the populations significantly diminished). You seem to protect the food chain when it comes to the right of this bobcat or other carnivorous predators to attach my dog, yet my rights at the top of the food chain to eliminate those animals from my territory is somehow wrong or unnatural? There are plenty of less populated places for wild animals to live so that we humans can be safe in our own backyards.

  23. Kendall Gardiner

    Laura Kaufman,
    I’m so sorry about the attack on, and subsequent death of your dog.
    I agree, we need to keep our pets, ourselves and our children safe.
    Babies and small children are especially vulnerable & face danger around wild animals.

  24. Morning 06880,

    I’m sure it’s been identified already, but the pic of the big cat last week….according to the Beardsley Zoo…Bobcat. Caution, methinks! K

    Kathleen Maher Executive Director Barnum Museum 820 Main Street Bridgeport, CT 06604 203-331-1104 ext. 100 barnum-museum.org

    *”The Noblest Art is that of Making Others Happy”* P.T. Barnum, 1886

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