More bobcats spotted in western Massachusetts

Though hard to track, it's estimated there are tens of thousands of bobcats across Massachusetts

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – Known to be solitary and shy felines, bobcats are becoming more comfortable being around our homes. This spring, they’ve already been spotted in suburban backyards and city streets here in western Massachusetts.

More of them are prowling our state since there’s been a drop in hunting bobcats across the Northeast. Now that the weather’s warm, they’re out of their dens and are searching for food. It’s incredibly difficult to track bobcats because they’re so skittish, but it’s estimated there are tens of thousands of them statewide. Because they’re skittish, bobcats aren’t known for being aggressive toward people – but they can go after your pets.

Ralph Taylor of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says we may be welcoming them to our property without even realizing it. “Bird feeders will attract a lot of animals that bobcats like to prey upon,” says Taylor. “You have the risk of also exposing your pets to these predators as well.”

Taylor recommends removing any bird feeders from around your home to keep your pets safe from these wild cats. If you see a bobcat, don’t approach it. Unless they’re rabid or feel threatened, they won’t attack you – but keeping your distance is a good idea.

Taylor says, “Take a picture if you could and just stay away from them. Observe where they’re going and what they’re doing, and feel privileged because most of the time, people don’t get to see a bobcat.”

If you spot a bobcat, 22News wants to know about it. Send your pictures to reportit@wwlp.com