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Wildcats In Indiana – Are There Any?

Very few people want to walk out their front door to go to work in the morning and find a wildcat sitting on the hood of their car or lounging on the porch swing. However, some of us are fascinated with the idea of wildcats roaming the state we live in.

If you live in Indiana, have you ever wondered if wildcats inhabit your lovely state? During our research, we determined that there aren’t very many. We’ll talk about the ones that live in the state and some of the most dangerous predators in Indiana to watch out for below.

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Are There Wildcats in Indiana?

Yes, there is one wildcat in Indiana. The bobcat was at one time considered endangered in the state, but that changed in 2005 when the species made a comeback. The bobcat is, in fact, the only resident wildcat of Indiana.

Also, according to the International Union for Conservation and Natural Resources, the bobcat has a stable population and is in no danger of becoming endangered. That doesn’t mean you’ll see one in your backyard on a fine spring morning since they are elusive creatures, much like most wildcats and predators.

The gorgeous creatures dine primarily on rabbits, rodents, and deer if they can bring one down. They’re most prevalent in the forested areas of southern and west central Indiana. Bobcats are considered to be an essential part of the food chain. Luckily, there have been no reports of bobcats attacking humans.

Are There Mountain Lions in Indiana?

mountain lion protecting her young
Image Credit: outdoorsman, Shutterstock

There have been reports of Mountain lions in Indiana, but they’re not a resident species in the area. The Mountain lions spotted in the state were likely residents of other regions that wandered over the border.  It’s also essential to note that the wildcats have only been seen in sparsely populated places, as they are the best areas for the predators to roam and hunt for food.

Is it Legal to Own a Wild Cat in Indiana?

Indiana is a bit different from other states since it is legal to own a wild cat. However, it’s still best to review your local laws before adopting a wild animal.

Indiana has three classes of exotic species, and you’ll want to see if your animal is on the list as an approved pet. The first class belongs to rabbits and squirrels; the second is small felines, including margays and Pampas cats. The third class covers species that aren’t in the first two classes, such as larger cats.

Believe it or not, owning lions and tigers in Indiana is legal. Indiana has a center called the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, also known as EFRC, that hosts more than a few wild cats that have been abandoned as pets by people who realize the animals are difficult to care for and need to be in the wild. Here are some of the species living at the EFRC:

  • Mountain Lions
  • Bengal Tigers
  • Panthers
  • Lions
  • Bobcats
  • Leopards

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What Are Some of Indiana’s Most Dangerous Predators?

Clouded Leopard
Image Credit: jdross75, Shutterstock

Now that you know a couple of wild cats in Indiana, you might wonder what other dangerous predators wander the state.

  • Grey wolves
  • Kissing bugs
  • Coyotes
  • Timber rattlesnake
  • Cottonmouth
  • Eastern massasauga rattlesnake
  • Copperhead
  • Black bears
  • Deer

While most of these predators will stay out of your way if you stay out of theirs, it’s still best to keep a close eye out when hiking or walking in the woods.

What’s the Most Dangerous Animal in Indiana?

If you look at the numbers, there’s no doubt that the graceful deer is the most dangerous animal in Indiana. They injure and kill more people annually than black bears, snakes, or even mountain lions. Car accidents are the reason that deer made the list. Be careful, drive slowly, and always be on the lookout for deer crossing the street.

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Wrap Up

Although there are wild cats in Indiana, the bobcat is the only permanent resident. You can see bobcats, and you might be able to spot a mountain lion, but you’re more likely to run into a deer than any other animal in the fair state. Encountering a wild cat is unlikely, and you can avoid them by walking in groups at dusk and dawn and keeping your property free of yard debris, pet food, and exposed trash.

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Featured Image Credit: bmarxdueren, Pixabay