Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bobcats seen roaming Florida beach city

Bobcats Seen Roaming Beach City
Residents Photograph Cats Close To New Smyrna Beach Homes

POSTED: Tuesday, February 9, 2010
UPDATED: 8:54 am EST February 9, 2010

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Several bobcat sightings in residential areas have a New Smyrna Beach community on edge.

Some residents said they are nervous about walking at night, while others are concerned that the wild cats may get into their homes.

The cats wouldn’t have far to go. The bobcats have been seen prowling an empty piece of property off the A1A, and all they would have to do is cross the street to the neighboring high-rises, which are full of people like the Schoenbergers.

Gary and Flory Schoenberger said they often walk in the area and were amazed by the size of the cats.

“I think it’s very scary -- beautiful, but scary,” said Flory Schoenberger. “Saw the truck and thought, ‘We’re walking with bobcats. OK.’”

Both the Schoenbergers said they had never seen a bobcat before.

“My immediate reaction is, ‘Is this for real?’” said Gary Schoenberger.

It is very real. A Local 6 viewer snapped pictures and sent them in over the weekend.

Local 6’s Erik von Ancken called Florida Fish and Wildlife, and an officer said the cats are actually all over the state and have been known to migrate over to the beach.

Though the Schoenbergers said they worry about a scratch or a bite, others, like Chris Chung, are worried about their pets.

“Mr. Tibbs is a spaniel, one year old, keeps me company,” said Chung.

FWC warns that bobcats are known to go after pets -- especially cats and small dogs.

According to the FWC, bobcats rarely grow larger than 3 feet and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Though the cats do have very sharp claws and teeth, they are also protected animals, and the FWC will not remove them unless they are causing a nuisance or have rabies.



Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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