Georgia is a diverse state and home to many different plant and animal species. The state only has one wild cat, the Bobcat, also known as the Red Lynx. Despite the Bobcat being the only wild cat in Georgia with an active population, other wild cat sightings are fairly common.

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The Bobcat

lynx bobcat wildcat
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Georgia isn’t the only place you can find the Bobcat; America’s most common wild cat can be found in 47 of the 50 states. Hawaii, Alaska, and Delaware are the only states without an active Bobcat population. The Bobcat is named because of its short tail that looks like it’s been bobbed or cut. With a weight of 8–40 pounds and a length of 30–50 inches, the Bobcat is small compared to other wild cats.

It has light brown fur with black spots that help it blend in with the brush and vegetation while hunting squirrels, mice, small deer, and other small prey. Bobcats typically hunt at dusk, making the camouflage from their coat even more useful.

Are Bobcats Dangerous?

Bobcats are not dangerous to people; they have an innate fear of people like most wild animals, and attacks on people are very rare. Just because they’re unlikely to hurt you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch out for them; Bobcats are very dangerous for your pets.

Bobcats hunt small prey that includes cats and small dogs. A food source attracts animals, and to a Bobcat, your pets are food; because of this, you need to know how to protect them. Below, we’ll explain the steps you can take to keep your pets safe.

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Keeping Your Pets Safe from Bobcats

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In most cases, Bobcats stay away from humans, but just in case one ventures out from the forest into your backyard, you need to know how to protect your furry friends.

Keeping Them Inside

The easiest way to keep wild animals from your pets is to keep them indoors. Obviously, you can’t leave a dog inside all day, but you should supervise and keep a close eye on them whenever they’re out.

Fence in Your Yard

Bobcats are incredibly agile and can leap over a 6-foot fence, but anything higher will keep them out. If they can’t get into your yard, you don’t have to worry about them.

Clean up Food

Don’t leave your pet’s food outside when they aren’t there; the food will attract Bobcats. This extends beyond pet food. If you have a bird feeder, ensure no bird seed is left on the ground. The bird seed could attract rodents, which would then attract Bobcats.

Get Your Pet Fixed

A fixed pet won’t spray and mark its territory and is far less likely to run away from home.

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Other Wild Cat Sightings

Two bobcats
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There is no evidence of an active population of non-Bobcat wild cats in Georgia, but it hasn’t stopped sightings of other wild cats. Georgia residents have reported seeing Florida Panthers, also known as Mountain Lions.

A Mountain Lion hasn’t been confirmed in Georgia since 2008 when a hunter shot one in Troup County. The closest population of Mountain Lions lives in Florida. It doesn’t seem impossible that one made the 100-mile journey, but the cat’s paws were scratched like it had been walking on concrete. The animal’s paws and the lack of ticks or fleas led experts to conclude it was a released or escaped exotic pet.

On several occasions, people have reported sighting Black Panthers, and that, however, is incredibly unlikely. Black Panthers are not a real species. A Black Panther is just a color variation of Jaguars and Leopards. The nearest Leopards and Jaguar Populations are in Central and South America, which is far too long a distance for them to make it to Georgia on their own.

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Closing Thoughts

Despite sightings of other large felines, the only wild cat with an active population is the Bobcat. Bobcats are no danger to humans but are a danger to their pets. Because of this, you should be very careful if Bobcats are abundant in your area.

Featured Image Credit: Geoffrey Kuchera, Shutterstock