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Bobcat sighting in Cape Cod is first in more than 200 years

This was no ordinary kitty.

A bobcat was spotted in Cape Cod earlier this month, the first sighting of the animal in the area in centuries, officials said.

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A man and his wife were driving home in Falmouth late Aug. 9 when they spotted something in their headlights as they pulled into their driveway, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman Jason Zimmer said.

Right away, they knew the animal was too large to be a house cat. They watched it in the headlights from their car and were able to record a video, Zimmer said.

The couple sent the video to the Falmouth Department of Natural Resources, which sent it to the state. Based on the size and shape of the cat, as well as its tail and markings on its belly and legs, state experts confirmed it was a bobcat, Zimmer said.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when a bobcat was last seen in the Cape, Zimmer said, but it was likely in the late 1700s. Early settlers drove the cats from the area, Zimmer said.

Bobcats do not pose a threat to people, but residents should keep a safe distance if they see one and keep small pets in a secured area, Zimmer said.

Bobcats are the only wild cat found in Massachusetts. They are approximately twice the size of a normal house cat, weighing between 15 and 35 pounds. They have short yellow or reddish-brown fur, with spots on their legs and undersides. Bobcats are shy, elusive animals but have the ability to make many noises, including screaming, according to the state.

Melissa can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson
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