Every now and then, there will be reports of bobcat sightings here on the SouthCoast, or perhaps on Cape Cod. Some scoff and say, “There are no bobcats in this part of Massachusetts!” but those who had a sighting know what they saw.

In 2016, a large bobcat was struck and killed in Dartmouth on Interstate 195. In 2013, one was confirmed in Falmouth, marking the first time a bobcat had been spotted on Cape Cod since the colonial era.

February through March is bobcat mating season, though, and if ever there was going to be a time to encounter one, it would be now – and wildlife officials say that while it is rare to experience one here, it’s not impossible.

“The bobcat is the only wild cat now found in Massachusetts. Bobcats are common in the central and western parts of the state, present in the northeast, and expanding into the southeast,” wrote MassWildlife.

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How can you tell the difference between a bobcat and a regular house cat? According to MassWildlife, bobcats are generally about twice the size of a domestic cat, with a short “bobbed” tail (hence the name), and bushy fur around its face and ears.

Generally, bobcats will avoid humans while out hunting for prey such as rabbits. However, they may go after chickens or small livestock. There was an incident in January of 2013 when a Brookfield man and his 15-year-old nephew were attacked by a bobcat in the man’s garage. It was suspected that the bobcat was rabid.

The bottom line is, even if bobcats are becoming more prominent here in Southeastern Massachusetts, they’re going to keep their distance from you and probably pose you very little harm, even if they do wander into your yard.

Massachusetts Wildlife You Can Legally Take Home as Pets

Massachusetts has such diverse wildlife, but also strict limitations on what you can bring home and cuddle. In fact, there are only certain reptiles and amphibians you can keep as pets (so no raccoons, squirrels, bunnies, etc.) and you are only allowed two of each. The state also says "you cannot sell, barter, or exchange them." Also, keep in mind, these are wildlife, so it's probably best to just leave them be and maybe visit a reptile shop instead to get your next pet.

Here's a List of All the Snakes Native to Massachusetts (Two Can Kill You)

Did you know that there's a species of rattlesnake found in the Bay State? Or that two of our local venomous serpents can be deadly to humans — but despite what your parents told you, the water moccasin isn't one of them? (They don't even live in Massachusetts.) Love them or hate them, these slithery little suckers are everywhere. Here's what snakes you're most likely to find in your backyard.

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