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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Bobcat Family

Using trail cameras, we've been following a mother bobcat and her kittens this summer. For most of August, my cameras mainly captured photos of the mother carrying prey to the den but occasionally getting images of the kittens out of the den with their mom.
In late August, the mother brought the kittens out to play shortly after she'd served them a breakfast of freshly caught squirrel. They played at the base of a bear-marking tree where I had a trail camera that shoots video. I've learned over the years that many animals are attracted to bear-marking trees, including bobcats.
Then, one morning recently, the family was startled by a skunk. The kittens scattered and mom ran directly away from the skunk and out of the view of the camera. I don't think any of the family was sprayed because I didn't smell any trace of skunk in that vicinity the next morning.

However, after the skunk caused them to scatter, the mother had only one kitten with her. At first, the mother didn't seem concerned, and she played adorably with one kitten in front of my camera (again, at the base of a bear-marking tree). They both rolled, showing us their incredibly spotted bellies.

A couple of minutes later, the other kitten still hadn't returned. Atypically, the mother bobcat and her kitten stayed out on the wildlife trail for hours in the same area. Usually, mother bobcats don't use main wildlife trails with their kittens until winter, when the kittens are much bigger. The mother looked around her vigilantly, perhaps waiting for her 2nd kitten to return. I wish I'd been recording audio because I suspect the mother did some cat-calling to try to bring him back.

I've made a video of all this action which I hope you enjoy watching! You can watch it at Youtube also.


  1. It's hilarious that a skunk can send a bobcat family running! Hopefully the 2nd kitten returns soon. They look on the verge of being old enough to go it alone. Is that about right?

  2. Ohyes, indeed!!! We love watching your videos. We also hope the other kitten came back. Such fun to see.

  3. Hope the other kitten comes back soon. Could it be up a tree?

  4. Wow- facinating video!!!
    We hope the other kitten shows up too!

  5. Gosh that made me chuckle when the skunk came running through. Hope the kitten found his way back
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  6. Taryn - In past years, bobcat kittens have stayed with their moms until late winter (February or so). They gradually spend more time away from her until I don't see them at all with her by early spring.

    Also, mom has still been delivering meals (already dead small animals) to their den so I don't think they know how to hunt yet.

    Great question!

  7. Amazing - I never realized they had spotted bellies! I hope the other kitten made it back okay.

  8. Oh it seems one tried to wagg the smell away with his tail :o) I must laugh as I saw how Pepe Le Pew followed them :o)

  9. The kittens are just adorable! Paws crossed that #2 comes back!

  10. How exciting to capture this -- I LOVE IT, and its been fun to watch, and by far better than anything on TV! :-)!!

  11. What an incredible sequence! Kim's right, there's nothing on TV that can rival the wildlife drama on your blog. Please share if the kitten is reunited with mom. If mom is still hunting for them, the little one won't be able to hunt for itself you will it? I expect they have to learn at least some of it from their mother. This is great stuff and I thank you for sharing. Spotted bellies! Who knew!?

  12. Oh, we hope the other kitten is okay. They are adorable!

  13. How cool. The easy mom takes care of them. We never saw them bringing food to the den
    Lily & Edward

  14. Great story, KB! We will be eager to see #2 whenever he shows up. Domestic cats aren't famous for finding their way home, so we will hope this little guy picks up a scent soon.


    Jo, Stella and ZKhat

  15. Great video! Thanks for sharing your wildlife with us.

  16. Ihope the second kitten shows up soon. They are absolutely adorable.


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