Ahwatukee Foothills is known for beautiful mountain views but the mountains are full of wild animals that could get dangerously close to people if not addressed in the right way, experts said.
On Monday, Ahwatukee Foothills resident Tina Charon said she was shocked to look out her kitchen window, near Mountain Sky and Ranch Circle, and see a bobcat in her yard.
“It was around 8 a.m. and I was looking out the window and a motion caught my attention,” Charon said. “Just outside the window was a bobcat catching a rabbit. He very casually picked it up and carried it around the pool.”
Charon said the bobcat jumped into some bushes for a few minutes before peeking back out, walking around the corner of her home and leaving the yard with his breakfast.
Bobcat sightings aren’t as common in Ahwatukee as other areas of the Valley, said Darren Julian of Arizona Game and Fish, but they get a few calls each year. If the cats are not scared away from where people are, they may get too comfortable.
“If it doesn’t associate human-dominated areas with a negative experience it’s going to start frequenting those areas a lot more,” he said. “As it becomes more comfortable with people you’ll see it a lot more often.”
Julian said the easiest way to make a bobcat feel uncomfortable is spraying them with a hose. Just like domestic cats, bobcats do not enjoy getting wet.
Bobcats typically eat small animals like pigeons, quail, doves or rabbits, Julian said. When people are feeding small animals in their yard, it may attract bobcats. The animals also look for a water source and shade.
“Your urban oasis might provide everything that a bobcat needs,” he said.
Julian said there’s not any particular “bobcat season,” but because of the nicer weather during the day they may be more active. Bobcats are not nocturnal, like most people believe.
While it’s very rare for bobcats to attack dogs or cats, Julian said it’s always a good idea in areas close to the desert to keep an eye on small animals. Coyotes will attack small dogs and cats, and this time of year many birds of prey come to Arizona to escape the cold weather. Julian said to keep and eye on all small pets and if they must be outdoors unsupervised, make sure it’s in an enclosed dog run that wild animals cannot get into from any side.
For more information or tips on living near wildlife, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/urban_wildlife.shtml.
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