By Ted Scouten

LAUDERDHILL (CBSMiami) – A Lauderhill couple was hospitalized Friday morning after being attacked by a wild animal, possibly a bobcat.

According to the Lauderhill Fire Department, the woman and her husband were out for an early morning walk in the area of 6080 NW 44th Street near the Greens of Inverrary Apartment complex.

“I saw her on the ground, she was sitting down. I said, ‘What happened?’ She said a bobcat bit her.  I said, ‘Bobcat?’  She said ‘Yes’,” explained friend Veronica Wong.

Wong said the couple is in their 80s.  The woman, who was identified as 85-year-old Eslyn Fray, was injured most seriously.

“She was bitten by a bobcat,” said brother-in-law Howard Fray. “Her finger, a piece of her finger was bitten off. She has injuries to her forehead. He hand was bitten, her lips,” said Fray.

Fray also explained that the husband, identified as 71-year-old Rupert, recently had open-heart surgery.

“He went to help her and he fell and got a fractured hip.”

The commotion of his fall was enough to scare off the animal.  Wildlife officials are still trying to confirm what kind of animal, which came out of the bushes, attacked the woman.

The couple was taken to Broward Health Medical Center where both are listed in stable condition.

Rupert is being released from the hospital on Friday night, while Eslyn will stay overnight.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Wildlife officials are not confirming yet that this was a bobcat attack. However, investigators were able to retrieve hairs from the scene — they’ll run tests to see if they can determine what kind of animal it was. But they do tell us bobcats are part of life in South Florida.

“They’re native to South Florida, to Florida in general,” explained FWC officer Tyson Matthews. “They’re about 2 times the size of a normal house cat, they have a bobbed tail, which is why they’re called bobcats.  They have small spikes on their ears which is a tell tale sign. Spots on their bodies and their underbellies are white.”

A male bobcat weighs 20 to 30 pounds, and a female weighs between 15 and 25 pounds.

The bobcat is abundant in Florida, so it is not listed as endangered or threatened.

Ted Scouten

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