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Wild Animals/Cat identification issue

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Question
I have two large outside dogs that have many acres to roam on. They have been returning with claw marks on their shoulders, legs, and today one had a bald patch on his head. As far as I can figure, the paw had to be at least 6 inches in diameter but not very deep.
I have scoured the Internet researching bobcats, cougars, and other potential menaces in North east Kansas. I have not been to identify the exact animal but I am positive it is a feline. I have in the past seen a bobcat run down the middle of the gravel road in broad daylight so I know there has got to be one near here.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Theresa

Answer
Dear Theresa

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

http://kufs.ku.edu/libres/Mammals_of_Kansas/felis.html says that cougars are no longer found in Kansas, but http://kufs.ku.edu/libres/Mammals_of_Kansas/lynx-ruf.html says that bobcats occur throughout Kansas, so if the animal that attacked your dogs was a wild cat, it was probably a bobcat.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.htm says that bobcats may attack dogs that are the same size as a cocker spaniel. It suggests that you feed dogs indoors and clean up after them. You should pick up any leftovers and spilled food after the dogs have finished. Water, pet food and droppings attract small mammals, which then attract bobcats. You should keep dogs indoors, especially from dusk to dawn. Ben Willis (http://scotcats.online.fr/abc/photoalbum/injuriesbobcat.html) has information and photos about bobcats atcking dogs. ``

If you haven't already done so, please take the dogs to a vet, who should check the symptoms and may be able to identify which animal wounded your dog. While a bobcat seems likely, I cannot confirm that this was definitely the case.

All the best

Jonathan  

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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