Bobcats and coyotes roam about
By Suha Chari, Sustainable Scripps Ranch
In the past few weeks, our neighborhood has enjoyed a duck pair strutting about, getting into our yards and being quite at home here.
We all think they’re cute. But coyotes and bobcats in our yard? That’s quite another matter!
Why are the latter entering our yards all of a sudden?
With a changing climate, we’ve had more and worse wildfires here, which means loss of habitat for many wildlife that live around and among us. Every time a new development comes up, roads are built, trees cut, and wildlife corridors disrupted. Hence, wildlife are driven from larger roaming areas into smaller and smaller divisions. They also go where their prey abound.
You might have seen videos of bobcats drinking from backyard puddles.
We don’t mind sharing our plenty with rabbits, and even rats and raccoons, but when it comes to bobcats and coyotes, unnecessary fear takes hold. So, let’s get some facts straight:
• These animals are wary of humans, so we don’t have much to fear from either of them, though coyotes can attack your small pets.
• Fish & Wildlife folks say that bobcats, which are just twice the size of house cats, eat mainly small rodents and mammals, thus aiding in maintaining plant diversity. They’re native to California and play an important role in the wildlife community. Bobcats are protected from being hunted.
How do we protect our pets?
• Prevention: Never feed wildlife; remove all food sources; secure pets and livestock, especially at dawn and dusk.
• On a walk with dogs, keep a short leash.
• If confronted, make loud noises.
In general, larger cats and mammals inhabit and roam larger areas and depend on smaller prey for survival. Hence, they are fewer, and they are easily driven to extinction. People either fear them or hunt them down for their skin, bones, tusks or fur. We also unwittingly shrink their habitats with our penchant for building and paving. All it takes is a little more awareness of their needs, as we go about our business, to share this beautiful land with all its creatures, large and small. Let us cherish their beauty and variety.