Woman Says Family of Bobcats Has Moved Into Abandoned Home Next Door

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
June 23, 2018USshare

NTD Photo

When the Lara family chose to buy a 2-acre lot in rural Victorville in San Bernadino County, they knew they’d be sharing the space with a wide variety of wild animals.

They hadn’t counted on a family of predators moving in next door.

Maria Lara and her three daughters stood in their yard at dusk, talking with KTLA reporter Kareen Winter. They felt safe, because the 6-foot cyclone fence would keep out the neighbors—for a while.

Their new neighbors are a family of four bobcats that have taken up residents in the abandoned home next door.

“They get in and out of a hole in the attic of that abandoned house,” Lara told the KTLA reporter.

(KTLA screenshot)
(Screenshot via KTLA Los Angeles)

The Laras told KTLA they rarely leave their home after dark any more.

“We’re enjoying them,” Lara explained, “but at the same time we’re kind of scared.”

Bobcats are about twice the size of a common housecat—between 2 and 4 feet long, including the tail, standing 1 to 2 feet at the shoulder, and weighing between 15 and 40 pounds.

Bobcats’ preferred meal is rabbit, which live on the Laras’ property in abundance, but they will also hunt everything from insects to chickens to small deer.

While a bobcat wouldn’t likely hunt an adult human for food, children might be at risk, and small pets could certainly make an attractive meal.

The FWC also suggests taking down bird feeders that attract animals of prey, and not leaving out bowls of pet food.

Water is another key resource for bobcat management.

Shortly before the bobcats showed up, the Laras bought an inflatable pool for the children to play in through the heat of the summer, but because of the bobcats, they had to drain it.

Department of Fish and Wildlife officers recommended emptying the pool because the bobcats were using it as a water source. The cats were squeezing through a hole in the fence separating the two properties to take a drink when they needed one.

This bobcat was sighted at Sunol Park near Livermore, California. (Calibas/commons.wikimedia.org)
This bobcat was sighted at Sunol Park near Livermore, Calif. (Calibas/commons.wikimedia.org)

Despite the worries and the nuisances, the Laras accept their new neighbors. The Laras realize that they are living in the bobcats’ habitat, not the other way around.

One of the Lara daughters, Genesis Maciel told KTLA, “It’s really amazing, and also scary, because, like, it’s the dangers and everything, but it’s cool to see them there, because we don’t have to go to the zoo anymore.”

This mother bobcat was photographed in Montana de Oro State Park, California, in 2011. (Linda Tanner/Flicker (https://www.flickr.com/people/15323831@N05))
This mother bobcat was photographed in Montana de Oro State Park, California, in 2011. (Linda Tanner/Flicker [https://www.flickr.com/people/15323831@N05])
Maria Lara wants all her neighbors to know the cats have moved in—and to know how to cope with the new neighbors.

“I want the neighbors to know that if they have small pets, small children, that aren’t aware of the dangers, let ‘em know,” Lara said to KTLA reporter Kareen Wynter.

“Let them know that they are around here—they live here—and not to supply any food or water if possible.”

Fish and Wildlife officers gave local residents brochures explaining how they could protect their property—and themselves—from their beautiful, natural, and possibly dangerous new feline neighbors.

For Maria Lara, the new neighbors bring reward as well as risk.

“I see beauty,” she said. “I think they’re gorgeous—from far away.”

 

 

 

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