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Thursday, March 13, 2014

In the Tracks of a Bobcat

A real gift during my shoulder surgery recovery has been my morning hikes with Shyla. It's been a change in routine, from pedal power on the trails to wandering all over the forest off the trails.

Recently, Shyla hurt two paws, up between the paw pads so she needs to wear boots during our hikes. Initially, she didn't mind them. I'm sorry to report that she has now decided that she hates them.

"Can't you see the problem here, KB?"

"Really, I'm serious. These red boots have got to go."

"OK, if you won't listen to reason, take a look at my teeth!"

"Well, that didn't work. Maybe if I sit here looking pathetic, the boots will vanish."

Next, Shyla resorted to a fervent prayer that the boots would simply disappear.
I am happy to report that, when she's running around the forest, Shyla completely forgets about the evil boots and has fun, in spite of herself!

During today's hike, we found some bobcat tracks, and we followed the tracks for most of our hike, letting the wild animal dictate our route. Here's a track of a bobcat. Notice how it's as wide as it is long (about 1.5" each way), and that no claws are showing (unlike canine tracks). Also notice how the big triangular paw pad has a flattened apex. That tells you it's a feline track rather than a canine track.
This bobcat wandered far and wide a couple of nights ago, and his tracks were still easy to follow today.
It's one of my favorite kind of hikes, where I learn about the behavior of a wild animal by following what he did in the forest. A bobcat's agility astounds me. He leaped up and onto huge boulder outcroppings and walk logs like balance beams. Bobcats are obsessed with rabbits, and I saw where he stopped to stalk near rabbit tracks several times in his wandering.

Believe it or not, his wandering included the area near our house. He left a signature "scrape" right by our front door. In the photo below, his front paws were at the top of the photo. Each of his hind paws scraped backward to create the furrows in the bottom half of the photo. In this case, he also left scat. Most scrapes don't have scat with them.
Here's a sequence by our house when a bobcat left a scrape in front of a trail camera. Notice that he kicked back with each hind paw and then squatted, probably to leave a urine mark.

Felines often repeatedly mark the same spots, so I like to point my trail camera at scrapes left by bobcats and mountain lions. Both species often mark the same spots so I often get great photos at scrapes!


  1. shyla, hang in there with the red boots! cool bobcat tracks!

  2. We are sending White Dog healing energies so poor Shyla will quickly be recovered and released from the dreaded boots and anxiety causing socks.

  3. That is so cool. I would have followed too, what a fun way to wander the woods.

  4. Such a gorgeous cat! Hope Shyla heals up soon so she can ditch the evil boots. ;)

  5. Such cool images and stories! Thanks! I look forward to seeing your images!

  6. Those pictures of Shyla and her boots are priceless! But at least she will wear them.

  7. LOL! Those pics of Shyla, the boots and your commentary were so funny! Love the first one the best. :)

    Glad you two enjoy your bobcat trailing. Have you ever run into one on any of your trails? Or do they keep themselves hidden?

  8. You have to know their behaviours to get such good photos.

    You'll just have to keep Shyla moving so she forgets about the boots.

    XXXOOO Bella & roxy

  9. I had a good laugh about Shyla ....but the bootd are so qute.
    The bobcat is Beautiful! Hope to see some kittens
    I managed to get a hog on the camera on the field in front of our house....dont like them so near. But we have fence around our garden so they dont come in.
    Have a great weekend!

  10. OMG...OMG... I has been gone so long I had no idea you had shoulder surgery...I am so sorry!!!! I knows dat is not an easy surgery and da recoop just sucks!
    I hads to has a good laugh at Shyla cuz her expressions were priceless.She is a much better dog than me.


  11. We're sure that this won't help, Shyla, but you would make an awesome model for the boot company. You look terrific in your red boots!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  12. Shyla is such a ham for the camera! Hope her paws heal up quickly so she can lose those horrible booties.

  13. Shyla, you look adorable in your boots! We hope that your paws heal quickly so that you don't have to wear them for too long.

    Always love your pictures!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

    Glad to hear you're doing well KB!!

  14. Hi Shyla, our mom makes us wear boots outside if it gets too cold. We don't like wearing them in the house but once we get outside we seem to forget all about them. We hope your paws heal quickly so you can take them off soon.

  15. Look at it this way Shyla, the kitty kat won't be able to figure our your paw print. He may think an evil critter is lurking
    Lily & Edward

  16. I love the first photo of Shyla in the boots! Her expression tells the whole story about the evil red boots. Too funny!
    Thanks for a good laugh this morning. Love the commentary with Shyla's photos.
    Hope you are feeling better and the migranes are being kept at bay! Glad to hear R is out and about and hopefully Shyla's paws will heal up soon and she can ditch the evil booties!
    Your photos have been spectacular of late. Look forward to seeing them each day. Thank you so much for sharing!

  17. Loved the boot pictures - they made me chuckle.

  18. We all think those boots are mighty fancy!

  19. Poor Shyla - I would like those boots either. Be careful of those bobcats!

  20. Tell Shyla she looks like she's wearing doggy Keens - so fashionable! I'd love to see Bobcat tracks! Lucky you.

  21. Shyla knows how to turn on the charm in hopes of losing those boot, but she has to learn that her human knows best. love the series of shots.

    So those cats are just like my dogs, one has to mark on top of the others:

  22. Shyla,, the boots are so pretty on you,, I hope you get to liking them soon!
    Incredible bobcat tracks- oh gosh!

  23. Hi Y'all!

    My Human says we should always go back to the last post we read and not miss a post because from you we always learn something about the wild animals we have wandering our mountains.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  24. Ha! I've been wondering when we'd hear Shyla's view on the red boots! Glad they are doing the job, though.
    And there's a bobcat, helpfully leading you through your recovery process, KB!


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