With unique tufted ears that resemble short black bushes, these felines can mostly be spotted behind shrubs and dense bushes ready to attack any rodent. Yes. We are talking about bobcats.
Found across various landscapes in the United States, Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are mid-sized carnivorous animals that have a distinct look and are mostly misunderstood for domestic cats.
While the state of New Jersey is home to a diverse range of wildlife, does the state inhabit Bobcats? Below I’ve explained all the things you need to know about the bobcats in New Jersey.
Are There Bobcats In New Jersey?
Yes, there are bobcats in New Jersey. In fact, bobcats are the only wildcat species found in the state. While once found in every county, their population is now distributed in a few regions alone. It is important to note that these wildcats were extirpated by the early 1900s in the state.
It was only after the reintroduction of these wildcats in 1998, that the bobcat population started rising and is now stable across the state.
However, even today due to Bobcats’ inherent invasiveness and solitary nature, they are rarely spotted, especially in cities.
Where do bobcats live in New Jersey?
Bobcats by nature prefer wooded areas, and swamps with a dense tree cover so that they can hide and remain solitary.
In New Jersey, bobcats are found primarily in Northern parts including counties like Warren, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex. As per reports received, these wildcats have also been sighted in eastern, central, and southern parts of the state. However, these reports have still been unconfirmed.
Similar to other wildlife, even bobcat populations tend to vary from time to time. Remember, their population has improved only after the reintroduction efforts taken up in the late 1900s. Therefore, there are chances that bobcats could be well distributed throughout the state in the future.
How common are bobcats in New Jersey?
It is important to note that Bobcats were only recently reintroduced into the state about 30 years ago. Therefore, bobcats are still relatively uncommon in New Jersey. As per the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, there are approximately 300 to 400 bobcat individuals in the state.
Bobcats are secretive in nature and have the ability to avoid human contact. Additionally, they predominantly live in habitats with dense covers, making it really difficult to spot them. As a result, Bobcats in New Jersey are sighted relatively rare.
How Large Is a New Jersey Bobcat?
Bobcats in New Jersey have sizes similar to those found in other states. In general, adult females weigh between 18 to 25 pounds and adult males weigh between 18 to 30 pounds.
Like many wildcats, as Bobcats are sexually dimorphic, males are larger than females. While these wildcats do have many similarities with domestic cats, Bobcats weigh about two times that of a domestic cat.
Though the bobcat’s size like other wildlife depends on their diet, habitat type, etc., these wildcats in general measure from 70 to 108 cm long from nose to tail end.
In terms of height, they stand at 45 to 60 cm at the shoulder. Due to their muscular build and short legs, bobcats are well agile and stealthy which makes them suitable for habitats like woodlands.
Also Check Our Guide On Bobcats In US
Are Bobcats Aggressive In New Jersey?
No, Bobcats are usually not aggressive. These wildcats avoid encounters with humans and in their presence are most likely to run away or hide rather than attack. However, like other wildlife and wildcats, Bobcats can get aggressive and defensive when they are cornered and threatened.
Therefore, it’s important to give them space and avoid disturbing them in the wild to both keep us safe and support the well-being of Bobcats.
While, these felines are rarely known to attack, if you do spot an aggressive or potentially dangerous Bobcat, report them to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and relevant actions will be taken by the agency.
Can You Kill a Bobcat In New Jersey?
No, you cannot kill a bobcat in New Jersey. Bobcats are listed as endangered in the state of New Jersey and therefore cannot be hunted, threatened, or killed without valid permits and licenses.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for managing, tracking, and establishing hunting and trapping seasons in the state. The agency also issues permits and licenses based on hunting methods, bag limits, etc. with an aim to promote the conservation of these species in a sustainable way.
As these rules may change from time to time, before planning to hunt or trap these wildcats make sure to check the latest information from The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
Can You Own a Bobcat In New Jersey?
No, You cannot own a bobcat in New Jersey without a valid permit and license. Bobcats are designated endangered in the state and therefore it is illegal to own or possess them.
Bobcat ownership in the state is controlled by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. This agency sets the rules and is responsible to issue special permits for wildlife possession and wildlife rehabilitation permits.
However, these permits are only provided for specific purposes like research, education, and rehabilitation purposes and not for private ownership.
Additionally, it is generally dangerous to own wild animals including bobcats. Therefore, instead of trying to own one, visit a wildlife sanctuary or zoo to observe these felines in their natural habitat up close without sacrificing your safety or the animal’s well-being.
Also Check Our Guide On Bobcats In New Hampshire
What To Do If You See a Bobcat In New Jersey?
Bobcats in New Jersey are rare to spot and most of the time avoid encountering humans. In fact, these wildcats avoid places near human habitats and tend to inhabit forests with dense cover.
However, as their population is increasing throughout the state, there are chances for individuals to encounter these solitary creatures. While these animals rarely attack humans, it is important to follow precautions to avoid any dangerous situation. Some of these include, not feeding them, securing food sources, keeping pets and small children indoors especially during dark, and giving them enough space to escape.
And that was everything you need to know about the Bobcats In New Jersey. I hope this article was informative enough and your queries were answered.
Thank You FOR Reading!
Our Goto Source For This Guide
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.