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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Snowy Sunday and Cats

K and I had a snowy and frolicking hike in the snow today. What an expression of joy from K!
Last night, I talked with a wildlife expert about the deceased bobcat who we found in the snow near a 4wd road but also near a rocky draw where mountain lions frequently roam. I described that all of the bobcat's whiskers were cut down to 1 centimeter stubs. He immediately said that was a strong sign that a mountain lion had killed the bobcat and had begun removing whiskers and fur prior to eating him. It seems likely that something, perhaps a jeep, scared the lion away from his kill, leaving the bobcat for us to find.

I have to say that all of your comments lifted my spirits so much yesterday. It's so wonderful to have an understanding community, who can empathize with my sadness over the loss of a predator. It also made me feel better to think that the bobcat's death was part of the natural order of nature rather than human error or malfeasance. Finally, thanks to all of you for your very generous comments about the photographs. An artist once told me that the key to photography is to "love your subjects" - I think that I've mastered that part but I never thought that anyone besides me would enjoy my photos.

This morning, the images on my wildlife camera at bobcat boulder swept my mind far away from the departed bobcat. Our local bobcat had visited the scent post, just after a rabbit ventured out of the cavern beneath the boulder.

The new wildlife camera at bobcat boulder is 'covert', yet the bobcat seemed to stare at it anyway. When I've triggered it in the dark, it makes a barely discernible red glow in one small point. I'm surprised that the bobcat focused on that subtle light so intensely. Perhaps she'll habituate to it over time. I suspect that this is the female bobcat who has previously rubbed her face on the rock and then had a boisterous rendezvous with another bobcat. My hope is that she will raise kittens this spring and we may see her again.


  1. Khyra got all excited when she saw the post's title: snow AND cats!

    That was quite an interesting theory about what killed the bobcat -

    We can't wait for more shots from the camera!

  2. My gosh, I had never heard of a predator removing its prey's whiskers before. That was interesting - scary - but interesting☺

  3. That is all furry interesting. I mean, that a possible mountain lion might take all whiskers and/or some fur first. Amazing. We went for a 10 mile/something hike today and man, did we search for anything we might find off trail. Nada. Nothing. Just a couple of owl leavings. How do you do it?
    xoxoxoxo Sammie and family

  4. interesting about the cat...but makes sense....
    very cool pics of the gal marking her rock....that bunny is one smart rabbit! wouldn't it be something if she brought her kittens here?!
    have a great week...

  5. I'm glad you got to the bottom of the bobcat mystery! I hadn't heard that about mountain lions before, but I'm glad your timing was such that you didn't come upon the lion while he was at the kill and that K and R didn't have another buffet.

    I love that expression on K's face! She looks like a puppy!

  6. Love the picture of K. Such utter joy.

    So sorry about Mr. Bobcat, but agree that it would make more sense to the world that a predator got him. But if that was true, would the mountain lion not have been hanging back close by prepared to drag his dinner off somewhere? Or was that simply a predator to predator battle?

  7. Your picture of K is the perfect image for me to take with me into my afternoon! Living up the day...

    Agree with your other readers-interesting info about the lion removing the bobcat whiskers. Wouldn't you have noticed punctures/etc if it had just been taken down by a lion? Or is it possible for them to break their prey's neck without breaking into their skin. Sorry for the morbid sounding question. That's just the first thought that popped up when you said it was a lion who killed the bobcat.

    So fun to see the new action at Bobcat Boulder!

  8. Well, KB, Lucinda was thinking of visiting you, but now she's not too sure! It's interesting that the wildlife person thought maybe the Bobcat was a Lion kill. Do you think the Bobcat's neck was broken? I wonder if you return there if the carcass will be gone?

  9. Oh, how we love that photo of K in the snow and how the pups envy her the snow! Somewhat reassuring that the bobcat met its fate by the lion and not a human, but still sad.

    Can't wait to see if there will be some baby bocats coming along.

  10. Great photo of K and dog joy! Thanks for the smile.

    It is easier to deal with an animal death if it was the natural order of things than something people did. I saw a fox that'd been hit by a car today. It hurt in the pit of my stomach. I think I feel about foxes the way that you feel about bobcats. Seeing a fox play is hilarious and they just seem so clever.

  11. The possibility of a lion killing the bobcat totally surprised me. But, it was quite possible that his neck was broken or spinal cord was severed without me seeing blood. Apparently, lions can kill with just a pair of punctures by their canine teeth that sever the spinal cord.

    The scenario that the wildlife expert proposed was that the lion was totally scared off the bobcat by something, and abandoned the carcass. Apparently, bobcats aren't high on the list of a lion's favorite foods. So, the lion might have killed him out of instinct, started his normal 'field dressing' method which included cutting off the whiskers with his incisors, gotten scared off, and then wasn't motivated enough to return because he prefers eating deer.

    That's just speculation but it fits the scenario.

    It's the story that I'd prefer to believe over an explanation that involves a human killing the bobcat either by accident or on purpose. It's the natural order of things - even if it isn't pretty.

  12. I would like to think that the expert is correct. It's nature's way and I respect that.

  13. Stopped at the first photo!!! Love that play play play photo!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose


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