Carolina, the bobcat (also called wildcat) is one of the more secretive and shy critters that live in our area. Bobcats are most active at night and are very territorial. A bobcat will establish and keep the same territory for its entire life in most cases. When fully grown, at about 1.5 to 2 years of age, the bobcat is between two to three times the size of the average housecat. They are easy to recognize by their bobbed tail and white spots on the upper sides of the ears.
Bobcats and You
Bobcats are very shy and will avoid people in most cases. The few instances when bobcats have attacked people, they were infected with rabies. Bobcats are present in all 48 contiguous states in the US and survive around 12 years in the wild. Bobcats do not form pair bonds and female bobcats raise kittens alone without the help of a male. If you encounter a bobcat, most of the time you can slowly back away and they will do the same. Other deterrents for bobcats are bright light and loud noise.
If you own a home, there are things you can do to avoid attracting a bobcat to your yard. Don’t leave pets outside unattended at night. Don’t leave pet food, open trash or other items that might attract other wildlife as the bobcat preys on many other local wildlife species. Eliminating things that interest other types of wildlife can keep them and hungry bobcats away. And don’t be fooled by fences. Bobcats can easily climb wooden fence posts and can even jump over fences as high as six feet tall.
Bobcats are carnivores and will kill and eat almost any kind of animal from as small as a mouse to as large as an adult deer. Housecats, dogs, chickens kept in backyard coops and even livestock are considered good eats to a bobcat. Other frequent prey include rabbits, squirrels, opossum, raccoons, reptiles and wild turkeys.
Bobcats are classified as “furbearers” and can be trapped or hunted in South Carolina on private lands with a hunting license during the appropriate season. Hunting season is Thanksgiving Day through March 1 and trapping season is December 1 through March 1. If you have a problem with a bobcat on your property, you can apply for a Nuisance Bobcat Depredation Permit in any season, which allows for the legal killing of a nuisance bobcat. Bobcats are not allowed to be relocated in South Carolina. Their territorial nature makes relocation ineffective as the bobcat will return to its established territory. The option many wildlife control services use to deal with nuisance bobcats is to trap and euthanize them.
If you suspect you might have a nuisance bobcat on your property, a wildlife control specialist can investigate to confirm and can provide advice on deterring the animal from coming too close to your home. Deterrents can include motion lights, electric fencing or noise options. If deterrents don’t solve the problem, a wildlife control service can humanely trap and deal with the animal