LEICESTER (CBS) — Parents dropping off their children at the Leicester Early Learning Center received a wildlife lesson Friday morning when they saw a large bobcat sunning itself about twenty yards from the building.
Preschool operators called the police while parents snapped pictures of the animal.
When police arrived, the bobcat fled but returned less than an hour later, only to be chased off again.
“This is not a public safety concern to us at this point,” said Chief James Hurley of Leicester Police.
“Why are we down patrolling? Obviously, because it’s an area where there are small children,” said Hurley.
The preschool, which has a fence surrounding the playground, decided to keep the kids inside for the day.
Some of the kids were told they could not go outside because it was too cold.
Rachel Hammerle, who lives close to where the bobcat was spotted has two small dogs and two children.
“I was shocked, we just moved here,” said Hammerle.
She says, she will take extra caution by “Leashing the dogs and keeping them inside especially at night.”
Bobcats are rarely seen as a threat to humans. “Bobcats are traditionally very shy,” said Hurley.
They prefer environments with swamps, bogs and brushy areas, which is the terrain behind the playground.
“But it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on small pets and watch your children when they’re outside,” Hurley said.
Hurley cautioned residents to avoid leaving food sources outside like dog food bowls or pet food that would attract the attention of a bobcat.
Bobcats are common in central and western Massachusetts, according to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
For more information, visit their website.