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Saturday, October 15, 2011

A bobcat mother and kitten

I found a tremendous surprise on my wildlife camera that's set up on our property today.

First, let me explain why the surprise made me so happy. Some of you know that I've been following the progress of a mother bobcat and her kitten for months. First, I noticed an adult bobcat hunting a very small area with great intensity. The bobcat never seemed to eat her prey where she killed it. Rather, she always carried it toward an epicenter, which I now think was the kitten's early den.

Then, from early August through mid-September, I captured photos of a bobcat mother and kitten traveling together.

After mid-September, my wildlife cameras were capturing photos of them separately and never together. I think the photo below was of the kitten. But, where was the mother?
This one looked so big and muscular that I believed that she was the mother. But where was the kitten?
Based on the fact that my friend saw two adult bobcats traveling together in our territory in mid-March (probably a mating pair), I figured that their kittens were born in mid-May or so. The kittens mostly stay in dens for the first couple of months which roughly fits with the fact that my first photos of the kitten were in early August.

So, it didn't make sense to me that the mother and kitten no longer seemed to be together if the kitten was only 5 months old or so. Usually, the kitten gets at least six months with the mother bobcat.

Well, last night, the pair visited our land and stayed in front of a camera for a few minutes! It's a rudimentary camera that takes incandescent flash photos every 30 seconds if there's motion in front of it. The first one looks like nothing until you notice the bobcat leg disappearing in between the boulders. It's in the crack just to the left of the biggest boulder.
The next photo made me laugh with delight!
The only part that I didn't like about the photo above was how much the flash must have blinded the pair, based on their bright eyes. That's why I don't use my incandescent flash cameras anywhere except for close to my house, where I think that the animals are already very wary. Out in the forest far from our house, I use infrared cameras which emit a soft red glow as the "flash" for night photos. The disadvantage is that the photos are in shades of gray and sometimes blurry but the flash doesn't blind the animals.

Finally, the camera caught the hind end of the kitten as he/she departed. Look at the size of those paws! That kitten needs to grow fast to catch up with his/her paws.
This has turned out to be a fortuitous location for my camera. I chose it based on signs that rabbits lived in the boulders - and rabbits attract predators. Then, recently, a coyote walked away from the boulders with a rabbit in his jaws. I nearly moved the camera, thinking that the attraction for predators was gone. However, soon after that, another rabbit showed up on the camera.
So, I lucked out! Now we know that the mother and kitten bobcat are doing great and are still traveling together, at least sometimes.

While I was searching through my archives of bobcat photos, I came across this funny photo that one of my wildlife cameras took of me. It was labeled as "tracking a mountain lion". I remember the day - there were patches of snow in shaded spots, and I'd found a fresh mountain lion track in one of them. I grabbed K and tried to figure out which way the lion had gone. I look a bit intense, don't you think? I laughed when I saw the photo today.

Today has been another glorious autumn day here on the Front Range of Colorado. It's not winter yet, and we're taking full advantage of the warmth and sunshine. We mountain biked earlier and plan to hike this afternoon/evening. Ah, the joy of our beautiful surroundings.


  1. Oh that's wonderful to see them together. I am sure you feel great relief. Love the picture of you in front of the camera! I guess the camera doesn't the know the difference between a coyote, bobcat, and you.

    Your pal, Pip

  2. wow, that kitty has big paws:) Maybe a male?

    Thanks for the chuckle with that cute pic of you.

    We have had quite the run of great weather here. Big changes coming in next week, a lot colder. Pups are loving the change from the summer.

  3. We're also glad the kitten hasn't lost the protection and instruction from his mom, yet. Hope they both get through the winter. Don't blame you for the death grip on K's collar as you survey the terrain for danger! Mama would be pretty intense, too, if she thought we were at possible risk.

    So sorry to read about K's diagnosis. Jed has been fighting a leg infection since April that ended up having MRSA [not MRSI], Enterococcus and a strain of E. coli as a cocktail of infection. He was on three different, powerful antibiotics [consecutively, not concurrently] which did not work after 3 months. Only then did the vet do a culture and discover an older antibiotic was the only thing effective against all three infections. He got both oral meds and topical oinment on the wound. The infection is finally gone and he has a thin layer of skin over what was a huge, deep wound. If he'd leave it alone, we'd be out of the woods. Due to his OCD, he licks and chews so he still has to be bandaged for protection and is still in the Cone of Shame unless mama is in the same room and awake. He had to do 6 weeks on the last antibiotic. The constant courses of antibiotics did quite a number on his digestive system and he's only now starting to get back to normal in that regard. He had a lot of nausea, diarrhea, poop incontinence and getting up every 90 - 120 minutes all night, every night for a few weeks. You are wise to double culture to be sure, so K can be on the antibiotics as short a time as necessary. Mama will for sure insist on cultures from now on, if either of us ever gets another infection. Good luck, K!

    Jed & Abby

  4. We had a beautiful day here, too - no kitty photos for me though! Great captures.

  5. Hi Y'all,

    Wonderful seeing the bobcats together.

    Wow, in that photo of you and K, you look so tiny and K so huge...and yes you look intense, but your looking a mountain lion tracks!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  6. So happy dat momma bobcat and her kitteh is still together! Happy Saturday my furiends!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  7. What great photos--All I could think of was 'here kitty kitty...' :-) But you're like me in that you worry about these little babes in the woods. We have a fawn that has been hanging around that was probably born in June. It's doing just fine, but I worry about it because I don't see its Mother...

    THANK YOU for your good thoughts for Bubba! Prior to doing Hamlet's 2nd surgery we did cultures of the infection and each time they came back as MRSI--The 'big gun' antibiotics were recommended but the side effects and Hamlet's age made their use a little too risky for him. So I opted to roll the dice and hoped that a 2nd de-bulking surgery would remove most of the infection. It did get most of it, but you may recall that the infection returned 6 mos later--We were never able to fully knock it out. But I'll admit to you that I was always thankful that it wasn't the infection or the tumor that took him from us.

  8. Maybe this bobcat kitten is just particularly willful and independent, straying far from his mother and testing his limits. With paws that big, I'm betting it's a he, anyway!

    I love that last photo of K! Is that collar she's wearing made by Lupine, by any chance? I'd love to find a bright, pretty autumn-colored collar for Miss Morgan like that one. K looks like a queen surveying her kingdom from the mountaintop!

  9. I love those ginormous paws!!!! Big huge baby paws are the best!!!! Sooo neat!

  10. Oh the kittys are together! they are so beautiful and big footed!

  11. Hi Everybuddy, your photos are as always amazing. We are glad you got the photo of the mum and her baby. They are fabulous. Mum says if she was in your part of the country she would be looking pretty intense too. She is a scardy cat. Have a great week. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  12. Those wild life cameras are worth thei weight in gold. And to think I worry about bing outside at night with wild boars about !

  13. Who wouldn't look intense knowing a predator had passed on your trail just moments before? Yikes.

    Mango Momma

  14. These are excellent..enjoyed the kitten so much!

  15. So happy to see that the cats were in fact together. I think I read that kittens often go off by themselves for short periods of time in around that age.

    A happy ending!! :-)


  16. fun fun fun
    love seeing what you capture in the wild!

  17. Incredible photos of those 'cats'! There is nothing that compares to a wild cat in it's natural habitat. Good the the kitten and mom are still together!

  18. What neat pictures! We've been spotting three kittens near my Mom's house!


  19. Good to see the Bobcat and kitten are still together.

  20. how cool. We never saw a baby bobcat
    Benny & Lily

  21. Holy crap those are some big kitty paws!!! Wonderful photos though. Even the last one of you is pretty cool!

  22. Yay!! I'm glad you have confirmation that mom and kitten are still together. I would worry myself like crazy over things like this.

    You do look like you're on a mission in that photo with K. Better safe than sorry. :)

  23. I think Pierce took up residence in front of your camera. :D

    I'm so glad the mom and kitten are still together, and the flash reflecting in their eyes made me think: "Halloween!"


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