After a reported sighting of a bear in Wrentham last week, area residents expressed concern again Sunday after a video of what appears to be a bobcat appeared on the Plainville Community Facebook page.
The 2-minute long video, posted by user Gary Carter Jr., who said he recorded it at one of his favorite hunting locations in the town, drew comments from residents concerned about the safety of their small pets.
However, while wildlife officials say the bear sighting near the Trout Pond area is rare and cause to avoid that area, bobcat sightings might not be as worrisome as some think.
"They're not uncommon around here," said Christopher Wider, the animal control officer for Wrentham and Plainville. "We've seen four or five in the past one or two years. They come down the railroad tracks, down from the North."
Wider, who didn't receive a formal report of the sighting, also stated there were rumors of a pack of bobcats living in the area as well.
"It doesn't surprise me that there was a sighting in Plainville," he said.
Carter declined to name the exact location of his sighting, but confirmed it was in Plainville.
Moreover, Wider said that although bobcats are fairly common in the area, they don't pose too much of a threat if people are careful.
"They're more afraid of us then we are of them," he said. "Just don't approach them and you should be fine."
Last July, residents of a condominium complex in the Canon Forge Drive area of Foxboro received an email alerting them to a bobcat sighting.
According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, bobcats are the only wild cats native to the commonwealth. They're more often seen in the central and western parts of the state, but have been spotted in southeastern Massachusetts.
While the agency says bobcats are "adapting to suburban settings and may be seen in backyards and residential areas," it also says they're "shy, solitary and generally elusive."
Bobcats are similar to a medium-size dog, grow about 3-feet long and weigh between 15 and 35 pounds. They have a mottled, light brownish coat and are about twice the size of a common house cat. Bobcats are active either in the daytime or at night but their activity tends to peak around dawn and dusk.
The cats may climb trees to rest, chase prey or run to escape from predators. They tend to avoid humans but may be attracted by food or pets and small livestock, such as chickens, that can be a food source.
MassWildlife offers residents the following tips to protect livestock and chickens:
"Avoid pasturing animals or placing coops in remote areas or in areas near heavily wooded cover. In addition, pen livestock in or near a barn at night. Keep chickens within secure pens or coops. Electric fencing may be used as a deterrent."
For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/files/2017-08/living-with-bobcats.pdf.