Bobcat, Weston’s Biggest Wildcat Fan, Roams Southside
Recently, at least three reports of a roving bobcat have been made on the town’s Community page. Noted first as patrolling Summer Street on Thursday morning around 7:30 am, the bobcat picked off one family’s egg-laying hen during its southside tour on Saturday. It was also sighted on Saturday morning by a resident on Ware Street, and then again on Sunday. All sightings were in early morning hours. One resident chased the bobcat away with a “large gardening tool.”
Bobcats are not common in Middlesex County, though one was seen in March of this year up near Ogilvie Forest on the northside. It is not clear if this is the same kitty, but more than one person suspects it of making a play for becoming the new mascot for the Weston high school. At the very least, it seems to be lost on its way to Cat Rock Park, which was in fact named for a bobcat sighting there many years ago.
Bobcats are normally shy and nocturnal, though they can be seen at any time of day or night. From the Adirondack Journal: “Bobcats are predators that thrive predominantly on a diet of small mammals. Cottontail rabbits are preferred, but they eat mice, voles, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, birds, muskrats, other small prey and insects as well. Occasionally, they will kill a larger animal (e.g. turkey, fawn, beaver) and cover the carcass, frequently returning to feed on it. They are also scavengers and, when food is scarce, will eat carrion, the carcasses of dead animals that they come upon.”
Attacks on humans are exceedingly rare: remember that bobcats weigh only 15-40 pounds, and tend to attack things that are smaller than them. That being said, if you have an outdoor cat, small dog or chickens, you might want to pay extra attention. That is really no different from coyote precautions. When you run into a bobcat or coyote, you should always attempt to “haze” or scare them away with loud noises and gestures–don’t let them “go in peace.” You will want them to be scared of human interaction.
The last published attack in Massachusetts was by a rabid bobcat in 2013, but one has been caught on camera in Acton as recently as 2019. For more information, the Acton Trails Committee published this wonderful informational article.
Personal note: While wild animal sightings can be scary, I try to remember that our houses were placed in their woods. We should all learn to live with them, appreciate them, and be safe. Also, if it could come north and take out my zinnia-eating bunnies, that would be great.