By: Cholla Nicoll, Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Lead Technician
Occasionally when we experience the natural world, we are given a special gift. This gift comes in the form of a moment of awe. Maybe we see a hawk swing low to catch a mouse or glimpse a mountain lion as it slinks away into the brush. Whatever the experience, it's one we rarely forget. You would think working in a wildlife preserve, I must have these moments all the time, but honestly, most days, I rarely see more than a circling vulture or deer bounding away. I try to work from a place of inspiration and that sense of awe. Wildlife camera images often deliver the gifts I need to continue my work. I have recently been gifted some pictures of a bobcat from the BWP wildlife cameras. I want to share this gift with you and sincerely hope that it brings you a moment of awe as it did me.
The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American species ranging from central Mexico to southern Canada. The bobcat is about twice the size of your average house cat. It preys on small animals such as rabbits, mice, and lizards. Bobcats are fairly common yet very rarely seen.
Bobcats are known for their short bobtail. Why bobcats have a short tail is still debated, one guess is that they evolved as ground hunters and therefore didn't need a long tail for balancing in trees. Bobcats also have black and white spots on the back of their ears, which create the illusion of false eyes. These spots ward off potential predators who might attack from behind and intimidate other rival bobcats.
The bobcat you see in the pictures was spending much time looking upwards in the camera images. I ventured out to the camera location to see what it may have been looking at in the surrounding trees. At first, I saw nothing, so I decided to take a short break under a nearby tree. It became undeniable what the bobcat may have been looking at as I was quickly surrounded by a flock of very upset Mexican Jaybirds. They loudly announced my presence was unacceptable to them. As I looked up at these very excited birds, I realized I had been given yet another gift, a notice that it was time to leave. I had outstayed my welcome and this place belonged to the birds and one exceptional short-tailed cat.
Bobcats, like all wildcats, benefit from strict regulations on the fur trade and large protected landscapes. Altogether avoiding the use of rodenticides also helps small predators like bobcats live a healthy and long life.
For more information on bobcats and other small wildcats, please visit the International Society for Endangered Cats.
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