PEORIA, Ill — A furry, four legged wild animal was recently spotted roaming near Lexington Hills Condominiums, believed to be a bobcat.
Two bobcats have now been found in Peoria just within the month of September. An expert at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights gives a few helpful tips if you come across one.
“They don’t want to be petted, so keep your distance, don’t touch them. That’s how people get hurt is by messing with wildlife, so if you give them their space and distance they are not going to bother you,” said Kristi Shoemaker, chief naturalist at Forest Park Nature Center.
Shoemaker explains how to identify the elusive creature.
“If you see a cat that’s larger than a normal house cat, that has eyespots on the back of its ears, it might be a bobcat. You don’t really have to do anything special with it, but I would say if you do see babies or kits out there, avoid them because the mother is close by,” Shoemaker said.
Tina lives near Lexington Ridge Condominiums. She says she was sitting outside one day waiting for the bobcat to emerge from the woods.
“I was kinda trying to sit outside and do some paperwork, and didn’t know if it would show up, so I kinda kept a little treat to my side so I could kinda throw it if it showed up and then I could go in the house,” Tina said.
Shoemaker says bobcats are native to Central Illinois, so there’s no need to call police or wildlife officials.
“Stay 50 feet back or so, take a picture cause it’s kind of an interesting thing to see. But, you know, just leave it alone, they are usually pretty shy and don’t want anything to do with humans. So, if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone,” Shoemaker said.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says bobcats weigh about 10-40 pounds and as many as 5,000 of them call Illinois home.