Species ID and Info

Photo courtesy of NYS DEC

The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a small to medium sized feline native to much of the North American continent. It is currently the only confirmed resident wild feline in our project study areas of Ohio, New York and Connecticut. Other felines with suspected transient or non-breeding populations in the region are the Cougar and Canadian lynx.

The average size of a bobcat is generally described to be twice that of a normal house cat. Average weight of individuals is 20 and 26 pounds for females and males, respectively. The fur is dense, short, and spotted, generally appearing reddish in the summer and grayish in the winter. They are usually solitary with exceptions during the breeding season and when females are rearing young.

Critical habitat features include places for refuge and protection, which may include rock ledges, rock piles, brush piles, and hollow trees and logs. Evergreen bogs, swamps, and other secluded places fulfill many of the critical habitat elements needed for survival. These habitats also provide access to prey species like mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits, birds, and deer (especially in winter) which make up a large portion of their diet in our state.
Source: NYS DEC

Photo courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The coyote (Canis latrans) was first observed in Ohio in 1919 and New York in 1925.  Though commonly associated with the more wild parts of the continent, coyotes have been observed in the country's largest cities including Chicago and New York City and are fairly common in the suburban areas of most US cities.

Adult coyotes weigh an average of 35lbs, and are 4-5 feet long (including the tail).  Fur color is variable, ranging from blonde or reddish-blonde to dark tan washed with black.  They can be observed individually or occasionally in groups consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring.  Young coyotes are very vocal, and what sounds like a large pack may only be a single family unit.

Some scientists think that coyotes may have taken over the territories of wolves that were pushed out of the region.  As odd as it may be, human development makes surprisingly good coyote habitat.  An abundance of food such as fruit, small mammals, deer, pet food and garbage are readily available in and near human development.
Source: NYS DEC and Mianus River Gorge

Photo courtesy of CritterZone.com
The fisher (Martes pennanti) is a medium-sized, dark-haired member of the weasel family.  In New York, fisher can be found throughout most of the forested regions of the state, inhabiting deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forest types, but are a relative new-comer to the lower Hudson Valley and western Connecticut.

Adult fishers range in size from 4 to 13 pounds with males being noticeably larger than females.  Total length ranges from 30-47 inches with males being larger than females.  A fisher's large, wide feet with semi-retractable claws make them adept at walking on snow, climbing trees, and capturing a variety of prey.  For an animal of its size, they are uniquely able to descend from a tree head-first, as opposed to backing down the tree like a porcupine or bear.

Fishers are generally solitary.  Year-round denning sites within their home territory may include large tree cavities, hollow logs, cavities in rock outcrops, brush piles, and underground burrows.  While able to consume a variety of small mammals, they are unique in their ability to prey upon porcupines, often consuming everything but the quills and large bones.
Source: NYS DEC

Photo courtesy of HunterCourse.com
The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) are smaller than coyotes and most domestic dogs.  Red fox are the most widely distributed carnivore in the world.  They are easily identified by their orange to orange-red fur, black feet and lower legs, and a noticeable white tip on the end of their bushy tail.

Red foxes prefer a mixture of forest and open field habitats, and they use the transition zone between these habitat types as their hunting grounds.  They can be active any time of the day but appear to be most active during the hours closest to dawn and dusk.  Red fox are an important predator to many nuisance species in suburban areas such as mice, rats, and rabbits.  Other components of their diet include birds and eggs, amphibians, reptiles, vegetation, fruit, insects, carrion, and, occasionally, garbage.
Source: CTDEEP

Photo courtesy of http://kauaimark.blogspot.com/

The gray fox is the second-most widely distributed North American fox species.  Gray fox are identified by their salt-and-pepper gray coat highlighted with areas of orange/red and black.  Key characteristics that differentiate from red fox include the tail which has a black stripe running from the base of the tail and ending in a black tip, a black stripe on each side of the face that connects the nose to the eye, and orange/red legs with gray feet.

The gray fox prefers deciduous woodlands and brushy, old field habitats and, in general, are less tolerant of human habitation.  Typically nocturnal in habit, they're prey sources usually include mice, rats, rabbits, birds, insects, eggs, fruit and acorns.  Gray fox can climb trees in search of certain prey items and have been known to do so to escape danger, bask in the sun, and find a den site.
Source: ODNR and NYSDEC

The black bear (Ursus americanus) is the smallest species of bear in North America and the only species of bear present in the eastern US.  Once extirpated from most of its range, the black bear has made a comeback into its historic range thanks in part to the conversion of farmland to woodland over the past 100 years.

Adult bears are 5-6 ft long, and weigh 150-450lbs for males and 110-250lbs for females.  The hair is glossy black to brownish black all over, except on the muzzle, which is typically tan or light brown.  Bears prefer mature forests with a thick understory to provide a variety of soft and hard mast in summer and fall.  They also eat insects (especially ants and bees) and carrion, but are known to raid bird feeders and garbage cans.

Black bears are solitary, the exception being a mother with cubs.  Male bears will travel long distances in search of females during the breeding season (June-July), which correlates with area sightings typically reported in the media.  Black bears are typically shy and fearful of humans.  However, they can lose their fear of humans if they regularly find food near homes and areas of human activity.  Never feed bears or leave food, garbage, or other sources of potential food outside when bears are known to be around.
Source: CTDEEP