MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Monson Police Department is asking people to remain vigilant after an aggressive bobcat attacked someone Saturday afternoon.
According to a biologist 22News spoke with, they say that’s because this kind of attack is extremely rare. “We’ve only ever had five incidents where someone has been attacked by a bobcat in Massachusetts. Four of those involved rabid animals, and one was with a turkey hunter,” said Dave Wattles, Black Bear & Furbearer, Biologist, Mass Wildlife.
Environmental and Monson Police officers conducted a search of the area described by the victim but were unable to find the bobcat. Now, the search for a potentially rabid bobcat continues in Monson, after it attacked a person in the area of East Hill Road, on the Conant Brook Dam Property.
Police are asking people to avoid that area in the meantime. People walking on the Conant Brook Dam property should avoid the trails in the vicinity of East Hill Road since that is where the attack occurred.
According to Mass.gov, bobcat habitats usually involve mountainous areas such as those that have rocky ledges, hardwood forests, swamps, bogs, and brushy areas near fields. The bobcats become more visible in backyards and residential areas throughout Massachusetts as they adapt to suburban settings.
Bobcat tracks may be mistaken for domestic cats, but bobcats actually appear to have five toes. When leaving their tracks behind, a person may only notice the four toes. However, their fifth doesn’t impress into the ground when it walks, since it is raised high on the forefeet.
Experts say bobcats are elusive and shy animals, and while they prefer not to interact with people, experts add just like all wildlife, you should never approach it. Do anything you can to fend it off and then get away from the animal. Those attacks have persisted in the past where the bobcat just keeps coming, so fight it off as best as you can and try to get inside, get in a car,” adds Wattles.
For anyone that is walking or hiking in the area should call 911 if they encounter the bobcat.