ARDSLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A new neighbor is on the prowl in the quaint Westchester County village of Ardsley.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Thursday, the wild animal has people both excited and nervous.

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“I just noticed something out of the side of my eye and looked at it, and said, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s not just a cat — that’s a bobcat,’” said resident Laura Peterson.

Some people would have raced back inside, but not Peterson. She grabbed her camera and started taking pictures of the bobcat in the yard.

“It went past the trampoline and then hopped up through the tree line in the field back there,” Peterson said.

The bobcat seemed to eye Peterson like some nosy neighbor just passing through her winding farm road property.

“He was very mellow and walked slowly, and I was more – I thought it was exciting,” Peterson said.

It was exciting, to say the least, for many in and around the village of Ardsley. The presence of a bobcat roaming around prompted a lot of talk and some jitters.

“We were in bed with our deck doors open to let the fresh air in, and I said to my husband, ‘Could you please shut the door so the mountain lion doesn’t come in and get us?’” said Charlotte Federico of Ardsley.

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Bobcats, of course, are much smaller than mountain lions. But a bobcat was enough to prompt the parents of small children and pet owners to keep a close eye on things.

“I’m hoping not to run into him,” one woman said.

And while Adrsley may be just a dozen or so miles north of the Bronx, it feels like the country — a place where one would expect to find all sorts of wildlife.

“We’re seeing red foxes, we’re seeing coyotes, we’re seeing a multitude of deer, wild turkey, skunks, chipmunks, raccoons — you name it,” said Ardsley village manager George Calvi.

The opportunity to be in the great outdoors is the reason many move to Ardsley in the first place, which in turn changes the very nature of things in the area.

“It just shows you how much overdevelopment that we are doing here in this town and Westchester,” said Mike Federico of Ardsley, “because they almost have nowhere to go.”

In other words, urban sprawl may be bringing not only Bobcat construction vehicles to Westchester County, but actual bobcats too.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reported an estimated 5,000 bobcats in the state. Most are found far upstate.

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