Thanks to its unique and diverse landscapes, Michigan state offers a habitat for a variety of wildlife. From gray wolves to trout fish, the state boasts a range of terrestrial and marine life forms including wildcats.
Michigan is home to two wildcat species namely Bobcats and Canada Lynx which is the rarer in comparison. While bobcats are not unique to Michigan and are found across the United States, it is however pertinent to know about them to both appreciate their role in the ecosystem and also support their conservation.
Below I’ve explained all the things you need to know about the Bobcat’s presence in Michigan.
Are There Bobcats in Michigan?
Yes, there are bobcats found in Michigan. In fact, they are the most abundant wildcat found in the state.
Due to their elusive and solitary nature, with a distinct preference for dense vegetation cover, humans do not commonly sight Bobcats. Moreover, these creatures are nocturnal and travel during twilight and in dark making it difficult to spot them. However, there are occasional sightings from people especially at night.
Where Do Bobcats Live in Michigan?
While it is difficult to precisely point out where Bobcats live, these wildcats are found in diverse habitats across Michigan. In fact, bobcat sightings have been confirmed in every county of the state.
Bobcats are found both in the upper and lower peninsula. Although bobcats adapt well to their surroundings, these wildcats prefer to live in areas with ample cover and prey population. In general, Bobcats are found in the northern and western parts of the state due to the availability of prey, dense forests, swamps, and bushy areas.
How Large Is a Michigan Bobcat?
Bobcats (Lynx rufus) in Michigan are double the size of a domestic cat and are slightly smaller than their cousin Canada Lynx.
Adult male bobcats are larger than females and their weight ranges from 20 to 30 pounds. Sometime, large bobcats may even weigh 40 pounds. Standing at a height of 2 to 3 feet, bobcats in Michigan are about 2 to 4 feet long from nose to tail tip.
However, it is important to note that the size of a bobcat largely depends on the time of the year, availability of prey, type of habitat, competition, and genetics.
Are Bobcats Aggressive in Michigan?
No, Bobcats are solitary and shy creatures that mostly flee or hide in the presence of a person instead of behaving aggressively. However, similar to other wild animals, bobcats too may act defensively and aggressively if corned or threatened.
Additionally, conflict may occur between these wildcats and humans when there is food and young bobcats in the picture. Therefore, follow adequate precautions and the local regulations to avoid any conflicts with bobcats.
While it’s rare for a bobcat to attack humans, it is always important to maintain a safe distance when observing them in the wild or near suburbs. If you do find an aggressive bobcat, report it to the animal control department.
Also Check Our Guide On Bobcats In US
What Do Bobcats Eat in Michigan?
Bobcats in Michigan like those in other states are carnivores. Their diet predominantly consists of small mammals like rabbits, rodents, hares, and squirrels. Additionally, these wildcats are adaptable and can survive in any type of landscape with a diverse variety of lifeforms.
It is also important to note that, a bobcat’s diet depends on the availability of prey, habitat, and seasonal changes. Being one of the top predators, bobcats are responsible to maintain the population of small mammals in the ecosystem for sustainability.
In some rare cases, bobcats are also sighted eating domestic animals when there is a scarcity of prey in their natural habitats.
Can You Kill a Bobcat in Michigan?
Yes, you can kill a bobcat in Michigan. To trap or hunt a bobcat, a valid fur harvester license is required. These licenses along with regulations are established by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
As there are limited hunting and trapping seasons, it is important to obtain the licenses and permits prior to consulting the current regulations.
Additionally, outside the hunting and trapping season, bobcats are protected by state and federal, and it is, therefore, illegal to kill them.
It is important to note that an exception to the above rules exists when these felines enter your property or behave dangerously, and you can then kill them as an act of self-defense.
In this case, it is important to report the kill to NCWRM to support them in bobcat population tracking and management.
Can You Own a Bobcat in Michigan?
Bobcats are protected by both state and federal laws, and it is, in general, illegal to own them as a pet without a valid permit. These regulations are in place for both animal and human safety.
Though these permits can be applied for the possession of bobcats for educational, research, and rehabilitation purposes, they are mostly not approved for domestic purposes.
It is also important to note that, as wild animals, bobcats have an affinity towards unstable behavior and are fierce in nature. While they rarely attack humans, they are known to attack domestic animals and pets.
In addition to these, bobcats also require special care and can sometimes even spread wild diseases that may be fatal to humans. Therefore, while you may be curious to own a bobcat, visit a zoo or wildlife sanctuary to observe them instead of trying to own or possess them.
What To Do If You See a Bobcat in Michigan?
While it is rare to spot a bobcat in both wild and suburban areas of Michigan due to their elusiveness, if you do spot one it is important to stay calm and take necessary steps for both your safety and for the animal’s well-being.
When you spot a wildcat in a forested area, make some loud noises to announce your presence. Give it space so that it could run off and do not make eye contact.
If you spot them near your residential area, protect your pets and small children. Additionally, if at any point in time, the bobcat acts aggressively, then immediately report it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or local wildlife authorities.
Also Check Our Guide On Bobcat In Indiana
And that was everything you need to know about the Bobcat in Michigan. i hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.
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Founder Of This Website
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.