Four Bobcats Born in Santa Monica Mountains

A litter of four newborn bobcats was discovered in a Westlake Village backyard on April 9.

Biologists with the National Park Service (NPS) tracked a female bobcat, B-362, to the backyard of a home in Westlake Village. Researchers visited her den once she’d left the area to hunt, where they found the young bobcats—three females and one male—on April 9. They were named B-364, B-365, B-366 and B-367. Each was given a health check-up, weighed, measured and ear-tagged. The mother was tagged in the Thousand Oaks area in November—just a day before the Woolsey Fire started.

“This cat first had to deal with her habitat getting completely burned in the fire and then finding a new home in an unburned area,” said NPS biologist Joanne Moriarty in a statement. “She chose a den in thick brush, where she could keep her kittens safe.”

NPS officials said bobcat kittens typically stay in the den they’re born in for four to five weeks. After that, their mother moves her young to other dens for shorter periods. “Researchers are not sure why they do this, but they speculate that it’s likely an anti-predator behavior,” NPS spokeswoman Ana Cholo said in a statement. “Mom will typically also keep them in dens until they are 12 weeks of age, and then at that point they will follow her as she hunts and goes about her day.” Moriarty added that while it’s been a stressful time for local wildlife “we’re happy to see her thriving despite the challenges.”