Did you see a cat-like creature running away during your hiking or walks across the Arkansas landscapes? Chances are you have been visited by the phantom predator. Yes, Bobcats, these wildcats are found across diverse habitats of the state.
They have a wider role to play in the state’s ecosystem as one of the top predators. And so here we are, to spread the most vital facts and information about Bobcat’s presence in Arkansas, so that next time when these wild cats drop by near your vicinity, you know exactly what to do.
Are There Bobcats in Arkansas?
Oh yes! there is a stable population of Bobcats in Arkansas. These cats have spotted fur ranging in colour from deep brown to light tan. Their unique fur colour and pattern help them camouflage with their surroundings making it difficult for passers-by to spot them.
Their existence in the state also stresses the importance of conservation measures. In the past, there was a time specifically in the early 1900s, when the Bobcat population gradually declined, and their range was restricted to a few counties alone. But thanks to habitat protection and regulated hunting, these wild creatures have come back to the state.
Where do bobcats live in Arkansas?
Bobcats are adaptive and agile, ready to make a home in any type of landscape in the state. They do need a few requirements in a habitat to take shelter though. These range from stable prey population, absence of significant human population, and dense cover that’ll obstruct their presence from both prey and any predators.
As Arkansas has a variety of habitats, Bobcats have been able to find many locations in the state relevant to their habitation. Currently, they are found in all the counties, especially in those with mountains like the Ozark Mountain, Ouachita mountains, and in flatlands and bottomlands of the Delta region.
How common are bobcats in Arkansas?
Bobcats are quite a common sight in Arkansas if you know where to look. These wildcats are solitary and evasive by nature.
They are overly cautious and vary of human presence and while humans are quite smart and cautious too, Bobcats will quickly know your presence in their habitat before you even take your second steps.
So, while they are present in large numbers, their natural instincts make it difficult for humans to spot them albeit for a few seconds.
How Large Is an Arkansas Bobcat?
Bobcats are almost double the size of your common domestic cat and can be distinguished pretty well even by a first look. They however are smaller than the other wildcats and big cats like lions, tigers, and jaguars.
As per various wildlife agencies, Bobcats are the smallest wildcats found in North America in comparison to other wildcats like Canada Lynx and mountain lions.
Their body weight is about 20 pounds with male bobcats being larger than the females by a few significant pounds.
In terms of body structure, their shoulder measures about 12 to 24 inches high and their body measures about 24 to 48 inches with their tail measuring just 4 to 7 inches.
Also Check Our Guide On Bobcats In US
Are Bobcats Aggressive in Arkansas?
Bobcats found across the North American continent more or less have similar character traits. And the unanimous belief and observation is that these cats are not aggressive, at least most of the time.
Also, we need to stress on the difference between their behaviour towards humans and other animals like small mammals.
Like most wild animals, Bobcats will act defensively and exhibit aggressiveness when cornered or threatened. This is especially true when humans restrict their access to food sources or are too close to bobcats’ young kittens.
And unlike other wild and big cats, you can easily avoid this behaviour. Just maintain some distance between you and these cats and avoid feeding or keeping food sources outdoors.
Can You Kill a Bobcat in Arkansas?
Yes, You can kill and hunt a bobcat in Arkansas with a valid license and permits. As per the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Bobcats in Arkansas are classified as furbearers and therefore they can be hunted, and their pelts (fur) can be sold.
It is important to note that there is a closed hunting period established which is between September and February. Bobcats can be trapped or hunted only during this period.
But fair warning! It is difficult to bag these wild cats. Though bobcats have a weak sense of smell, their sharp eyes will catch you once you are in their habitat.
Can You Own a Bobcat in Arkansas?
Yes, you can unlike most of the states in the country, it is legal to privately own or possess bobcats. Few rules and regulations must be followed if you plan to own them.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is the regulatory body in control of the establishment, monitoring, and conservation of these wild creatures.
As per the agency, up to six bobcats can be owned in Arkansas without a warrant or permit. However, if you want to or need to own more, you need to avail of permits which can be tough to come by.
Before taking the decision of owning a bobcat, make sure you have thought it well. As they are wild creatures at the end of the day, it will be initially difficult for them to be habituated to domestic life. But regular training and monitoring will take them a long way.
What To Do If You See a Bobcat in Arkansas?
I am sure the above facts and details, would have painted bobcats to be non-threatening. Yes, they are towards humans but rarely towards pets and small children.
So based on the location and who you are accompanying, always be cautious and take relevant precautions especially when you are out at night. Bobcats are nocturnal and hunt mostly after dusk till dawn.
Some common precautions include, avoiding feeding bobcats, securing food sources kept outdoors, and never taking pets or small children for walks outside, especially in the areas where bobcats are often sighted.
If you happen to see them in the wild, make noises to announce your presence and always at all times maintain a safe distance between the bobcat and yourself.
But in most cases, it is possible that they will flee or hide before you even had a chance to spot or look at them.
Also Check Our Guide On Bobcats In Alabama
And that was everything you need to know about the Bobcats In Arkansas. I hope this article answered all your queries.
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I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.