Source: CBC (Extract)
Posted: May 12, 2021

Shallow snow, ample green space and abundance of prairie hares make good living conditions for the wild cats.

Bobcat sightings are increasing around Calgary, and according to naturalist Brian Keating, the population is thriving in part because the city presents a great habitat for the feline to call home.

Keating says bobcats are a type of lynx, and there are two types in North America:

  • The Canada lynx that has big, furry feet and can walk on deep snow. 
  • And the bobcat, which has the stubby tail.

Bobcats live in habitats where the snow is shallower, and they can be found all the way south to the Mexican border.

With more people heading outdoors during the pandemic, sightings in the city increased.

Calgary also has a wealth of green habitats and prairie hares, which together likely help their numbers grow.

“Calgary is blessed with Nose Hill and the Bow River corridor and Elbow … with a nice abundance of one of their primary sources of food, which is the prairie hare,” Keating said.

“The food source is there, the habitat is there, and I think that’s why we’re seeing them.”

‘Absolute predators’

About twice the size of a house cat, bobcats can be found in our backyards and gardens, Keating says. 

But make no mistake: They’re more ferocious than your tabby, whom they would likely eat if they could.

In fact, Keating says, the wild cats are “honed evolutionary killing perfection,” and bobcats are absolute predators.

“[Cats] are essentially what we call ambush predators. So they sit and they wait for an animal to come close enough. They do a short run and chase,” Keating said.

“[And bobcats] will take squirrels and the odd house cat, and even a little puppy.”

So if you see them stretching out in your backyard, it’s not an opportunity to introduce them to your pet.

Luckily, they don’t pose much threat to humans, so you can safely enjoy the sight.

“I think they’re a fantastic asset to the city, it just adds more colour and diversity,” Keating said.

“What a pleasure it is to have the possibility of coming across a creature like a wild cat.”

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