Nature

Wild Cats of the Texas Hill Country: Have You Spotted Them?

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There are several kinds of wild cats that call Texas home. However, many have become endangered and are rare sightings, sticking closely to South Texas. They rarely, if ever, venture into the Texas Hill Country. These wild cats are known as the ocelot, the jaguarundi, the margay, and the jaguar (though it is now probably extinct in Texas). However, there are three species of feline that do call Texas Hill Country home. They are the feral domestic cat, the bob cat, and the mountain lion.

Feral Domestic Cats

Wild Cats of the Texas Hill Country: Have You Spotted Them?Photo: Pixabay

By far the most plentiful of wild cats in Texas, and throughout the United States, the feral domestic cat is simply a house pet gone wild. They live in cities, suburban, and rural areas and are great for keeping mice and rats at bay. However, they can be quite the nuisance at times, by digging through trash, digging up gardens, and living (and messing) under homes. Feral cats are highly susceptible to rabies and other diseases and breed at a crazy rate, creating many, many more feral cats. However, many shelters and spay and neuter programs offer free spay and neuter surgeries for feral cats in an effort to help control the population. Place a live trap, catch them, take them in, then bring them back to their home for release after the surgery is completed.

Bob Cats

Wild Cats of the Texas Hill Country: Have You Spotted Them?Photo: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region Follow

The bob cat is a medium sized cat well-known throughout Texas. They have adapted well to the ever-growing human population, however they prefer rocky areas and canyons. The bob cat feeds off of small mammals and the occasional deer or two. They are a nuisance to farmers, ranchers, and back-yard homesteaders as they will also eat sheep, goats, chickens, and other kinds of poultry. Suburban homes need to be sure to watch over their pets when letting them outside, as the bob cat has been known to attack dogs and cats as well. However, they are a pretty cat to look at and they sport that bob-tail quite well.
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