ORANGE, Conn. — Officers in Orange called to a report of an animal killed on the side of a town road were shocked by what they found.
"Officers responded to an animal struck by a vehicle at about 6:15 p.m. on Thursday evening on Old Tavern Road. They were surprised to find this bobcat on the roadside," Orange police wrote in a Facebook post.
"Residents are reminded that there are many species of wildlife here in Orange including deer, fox, coyote, fisher cat and bobcat."
The bobcat was found on Old Tavern Road, a residential area off Route 1/Boston Post Road, a busy retail center.
Orange police warned residents about the dangers of the bobcat to pets.
"These wild animals tend to be shy and avoid human contact. Predatory species may be harmful to small domestic pets. Always scan the area before letting pets out, especially at night," police said.
The bobcat is the only wild cat found in Connecticut and its numbers are increasing in recent years, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
"Sighting and vehicle-kill reports indicate that bobcats now reside in all eight Connecticut counties. However, the heaviest concentrations occur in the northwestern corner of the state," DEEP said.
The bobcat is a stout, medium-size feline, with a short, “bobbed” tail (about 6 inches long), prominent cheek ruffs, and tufts of black hair on its pointed ears. The sides and back are generally the same color with faint black spots; grayer in winter and tan in summer. The underparts are white. The tail may have one to several indistinct dark bands and a tip that is black on top and whitish below.
Adult males weigh 18 to 35 pounds and measure 32 to 37 inches in length. Adult females weigh 15 to 30 pounds and measure 28 to 32 inches in length.
Bobcats are about two to three times the size of their distant relative, the domestic house cat, and the tracks of a young bobcat are often confused with those left by a roaming house cat.
If you encounter a wild animal, such as a bobcat, loud noises to scare it away, police said. Never approach a wild animal or try to corner them. If the animal does not retreat, go in the opposite direction, head indoors and contact police.
"As open spaces diminish, the chances of these types of encounters increase," which may result in aggressive response, police said.
For more information about Connecticut's wildlife, visit the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website.
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