Pete Stromik often sees interesting birds and snakes around his house near Port St. Lucie. He's even seen a coyote, but he was surprised to find a bobcat crossing his front lawn Thursday afternoon.
“He was right here. Must’ve came between the houses there, crossed over the driveway across the lawn," said Pete Stromik, who saw the bobcat. "Went across the street there dug around a little bit.”
Stromik's wife had seen a bobcat the day before from the pool in their community, Savanna Club.
"She was looking at the golf course from the pool and she kept yelling, 'Come here. Look it, look it,'" Stromik said. "By the time I got out he was in the bushes.”
Around 1:30 on Thursday, Stromik noticed the bobcat in front of his house as it walked across the street. He snapped some pictures and immediately realized how skinny the bobcat looked. He wondered if it's sick or possibly rabid.
"I felt bad. Awful thin like he might be sick," he said.
David Hitzig, a wildlife expert, confirmed by looking at the pictures that the animal is a bobcat.
"The identifying characteristic is the short stubby tail, but it’s clearly a bobcat," Hitzig said.
Bobcats are pretty common in Florida. They look for food, like lizards, frogs, and mice, around houses. Just because they’re out during the day doesn’t mean they’re rabid, Hitzig said.
"Bobcats are opportunistic, so they can be out during the daytime," he said.
How skinny this bobcat actually looks makes Hitzig think it doesn’t have rabies anyway.
“Typically those animals succumb to those diseases long before they get into this physical condition," he said.
Hitzig thinks the animal could be old and is likely quite sick with something.
"When you look at the picture one of the things that is just clearly obvious is that this poor cat has been suffering for a while," he said. "It is completely emaciated. I’m surprised that it’s still alive.
He recommends people call a wildlife expert if they spot a bobcat and watch from afar. People can contact him at 561-723-1465.