Bobcats, Roadrunners and Minks in Arlington? You bet!
By Office of Communication
Posted on June 15, 2012, June 15, 2012

When you think of seeing wildlife, Arlington probably doesn't come to mind. But you would be surprised to learn how many creatures live among the parks, forests, creeks and rivers in Arlington.

Recently a picture of a bobcat seen on Chester W. Ditto Golf Course caused quite a stir when it was posted to Facebook on June 6.

";Bobcats aren't rare in the city," said Mark Claburn, superintendent of Arlington's golf courses.

Arlington resident Lambert Lopez can attest to that. A frequent golfer at Tierra Verde Golf Club, he likes to tell people about the time he saw two bobcat kittens chasing golf balls on the practice holes there early one morning.

Tierra Verde is a 257-acre golf course, but only about 90 acres of the land gets mowed. The rest is preserved as wildlife quarters, providing a home to more than 140 different types of birds and more than 100 mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

But Tierra Verde isn't the only place you can see wildlife in Arlington. Other notable places include 1,300-acre River Legacy Parks and any of the City's linear parks.

Besides bobcats, minks, beavers, foxes, coyotes, roadrunners, eagles and turkeys have all been spotted within city limits.

What to do if you see wildlife

Even though bobcats are prominent, many residents may never have encountered one. So what should you do if you spot one or any other wildlife?

";Feel lucky that you're in middle of Metroplex and get to see such a beautiful creature," Urban Forestry & Land Manager Heather Dowell said. Then, casually continue on your path, being sure to avoid threatening or provocative movements.

Do not charge the animal or pick up a stick and wave it. Bobcats will respond like humans if threatened.

";Usually they will walk away into the trees. If the bobcat is not moving off the trail, then you can get off the trail and walk around it," Dowell said. She also offered turning around as another option.

Bobcats are not aggressive animals by nature and are not looking to harm people. Their diet mainly consists of mice, squirrels and rabbits. Claburn does not recommend walking your small pet by a bobcat, but he has seen feral cats and dogs coexist with bobcats for several years.

Both Claburn and Dowell strongly urge people to leave all wildlife alone. Claburn noted that even less desirable animals like snakes have their place in the ecosystem to keep other animal populations in check. If people choose to overrun a certain animal population, the ecosystem will become unbalanced, producing major problems.

Along those lines, Claburn stresses that people should not feed animals, which domesticate the creatures. When you do that, you are conditioning them to feel comfortable around people, but they need to have a healthy fear of humans.

If at any time you are scared by anything or anyone at a park, immediately call 911. You can then also call the Arlington Parks and Recreation department's main office 817-459-5474.


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