At first glance, this tawny feline looks like just another neighborhood pussycat visiting the yard.
Posing among the spring flowers it almost seems to smile for the camera. But there’s something a little wilder than usual in its expression and the size of its cheek ruffs and paws.
Ryan Shaw was surprised early one evening when he realized he had spotted a bobcat (Felis rufus) in his yard. Though his first thoughts raced to the whereabouts of his own housecat, he couldn’t help but be mesmerized by this wildcat’s awesome beauty. He wondered if perhaps he was the one trespassing on the bobcat’s territory.
In January 2010 I spotted two bobcats in the backyard. Besides this recent spotting on Green Bay Road, they’ve also been seen on Orion Drive. They seem to be on the prowl throughout Cow Bay and it’s no wonder why.
Bobcats feed on snowshoe hares, squirrels, porcupines and ground birds which are all plentiful here. They’re also comfortable climbing among the trees blown down in our backwoods by Hurricane Juan in 2003.
Bobcat litters of one to six kittens are born at this time of year. Since they breed in the first year, it likely won’t be long before there are more of them in our neck of the woods.
If you see a large tawny cat in your yard, especially one with a bobbed tail, don’t approach it. They may look friendly, but wild animals are best admired from a safe distance.
Photo credits: Ryan Shaw