Conn. (WTNH) — Bobcats are on the prowl — now more than ever. But, why are they being drawn to the Nutmeg State?

You may have seen them roaming in the wild; bobcats are medium-sized cats with a short “bobbed” tail, generally gray/tan coat with black spots, and pointed ears. They’re about two or three times the size of a domestic house cat and are usually found in the forest.

Bobcats are secretive and solitary predators, usually prowling after dark for their prey. They typically prey on cottontail rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, white-tailed deer, and birds. While on a lesser extend, they sometimes prey on insects and reptiles, as well as unsupervised domestic animals.

In Connecticut, bobcats are regularly observed across the state. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), bobcats have been sighted over 1,100 times in the state so far this year, compared to about 900 bear sightings.

They’ve been spotted frequently sighted across the shoreline: 26 times in Westport, 24 times in Guilford, and 33 times in Waterford. Additionally, bobcats have appeared in central Connecticut with 35 sightings in Avon and 23 sightings in Southington.

The once-dwindling bobcat population has since recovered, DEEP said. In 1825, only 25% of the state was forested, however, Connecticut is now covered in 60% forest. Since bobcats have been reclassified as a protected furbearer with no hunting trapping seasons, as well as the improved forest habitat conditions, it’s now common for humans to spot the animal.

DEEP said the bobcat population is very healthy and is continuing the expand.

“Bobcats are also adaptable animals and have become very efficient at living in more suburban areas, which increases the likelihood they will be observed by people,” DEEP said in a statement. “While still considered elusive and often offering only a quick observation before moving away, the increase in the use of trail cameras and technology like doorbell cameras has allowed us to glimpse bobcats remotely.”

The breed rarely causes issues with humans, though DEEP offered a few precautions if you ever find yourself in front of a bobcat: keep your distance, back away slowly, avoid running, and make noise.

DEEP urges anyone who sees a bobcat to report it. This will help determine bobcat abundance and distribution across the state. When reporting, it’s also important to note the bobcat’s location, as well as any visible ear tags or collars.

Report bobcat sightings to DEEP here.