Police say New Canaan is seeing an uptick in bobcat sightings.
A top-predator in Connecticut that feeds on rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, white-tailed deer and birds—and sometimes unsupervised domestic animals such as small livestock and poultry, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection—bobcats typically shy away from people.
“When seen, do not approach them,” New Canaan Police said in a press release.
Bobcats began to appear with more frequency in New Canaan around 2014, and since then officials have said they’ve seen what appear to be families of bobcats establishing dens here. Twice in 2020—in January and December, a pair of the normally reclusive animals were photographed on Marvin Ridge Road properties. A photograph taken two years ago of a pair of bobcats casually walking around a New Norwalk Road residential property concerned officials that the animals are becoming too familiar with humans.
“Bobcats are by nature wary of people and pose little threat to public safety or human health,” New Canaan Police said in the release. “However, unprotected pets and livestock may be at risk. Prevention is key to reducing human-wildlife conflict and preventing potential loss of pets or small livestock. Help us keep wildlife wild.”
New Canaan Police issued the following tips for co-existence with bobcats:
- Never intentionally feed wildlife.
- Don’t feed wildlife accidentally. Keep pet food and water inside. Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it is put on the curb for collection.
- Keep an eye on your pets. Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night and early mornings.
- Use deterrents like noisemakers (bells on your dog’s harness or on your wrist/ belt), clapping and waving your arms, and shouting. If those don’t work, throw a small object like a tennis ball or water near the animal to startle it.
- When hiking or walking on trails early in the morning be aware of your surroundings and keep your headphone sound to a minimum or off.
Bobcat sightings should be reported to New Canaan Police Animal Control at 203-594-3510.