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Monday, October 2, 2017

A bobcat's prey escapes

Today, I'd like to share some footage of a bobcat. My trail cams record bobcats almost daily. They simply march past the cams without pausing or doing anything extraordinary. For a few years in a row, we had bobcat kittens in the area, and they were FUN to watch. However, I haven't seen signs of kittens recently.

In fact, this is one of the more interesting series of photos of a bobcat that I captured this year because he stopped to mark the area in front of the camera before departing.

Thus, you might guess how surprised I was to find fairly long footage of a bobcat on a faraway trail cam that I hadn't checked in a while.

At first, I was a bit horrified by the footage. It showed a bobcat with an apparently dead chipmunk in its jaws. Then, the bobcat put the chipmunk on the ground, and the chipmunk ran away, causing the bobcat to leap to catch him. This was repeated a number of times, perhaps somewhat like a domestic cat playing with its prey. Each time the bobcat re-captured the chipmunk, it played dead again.

I was a bit upset by the footage because it seemed like the bobcat was prolonging the terror of the chipmunk.

But wait! In the end, the bobcat's behavior let the chipmunk escape!

Watch the end of the video very closely. The bobcat had walked into a bush with the chipmunk and was not visible to the camera. The bush started shaking as the bobcat moved, and then the chipmunk came sprinting out of the bush toward the camera. The bobcat did not chase it! I bet that the bobcat didn't see which way the chipmunk went.

So the chipmunk won this round, surviving to live another day.

You can watch the video here or at Youtube.


  1. that is one strong chipmunk and the cat was either young or not hungry.. what a beautiful cat, in the still and the video...

  2. I guess the bobcat just wanted a lively fun game. If he would have been hungry, the chipper wouldn't have won.

  3. Hari OM
    Oh that is an amazing bit of film to have!!! Definitely the cat was only having some fun... and perhaps got bored with the 'play dead' tactic &*> YAM xx

  4. Slow motion, that shows the speed of the chipmunk and the grace of the bobcat. Again, thanks for sharing, we see wildlife as it is, and this had a happy ending.

  5. Wow, you truly are surrounded by so many different wild creatures! Ever see wolves?

    1. We don't have any wolves established here. A couple have traveled south to here from Wyoming but they didn't survive. I think that it's just a matter of time for them to make it here if the delisting of them doesn't hurt their population too much. Then, the big question will be whether the people of Colorado will be willing to live with wolves. I can hope.

  6. That was one very clever AND lucky chipmunk. The big cat looked like he was having fun but we bet he was sorry he missed his dinner. Or maybe he wasn't sure of the taste:)

  7. OMD! glad he got away!
    Hazel & Mabel

  8. Gorgeous bobcat, and I hope the chipmunk wasn't too terrorized by the whole thing. Cats will be cats regardless - it's startling just how much our housecats act like their wild siblings. I think it's a very good thing my cat likes me as much as she seems to, otherwise yikes! (And my mom's much-missed Emily was quite the huntress and was occasionally known as the Chipmunk Murderer. We like chipmunks but she cleared them off the property!)

  9. There is a lesson in there for people about not playing when there is business to be done. The chipmunk has quite the story for his family

  10. Very cool video! How lucky to catch that all on camera!

  11. That was one lucky chipmunk! I think the cat had a bit of fun and let it escape - perhaps had just eaten a big lunch... Great footage - I enjoyed watching.

  12. Chipmunk 1, Bobcat 0
    Gotta expect there will be another game in the future.

  13. Every bit of this is such a familiar sight to me! Well...smaller cats. Different tree species. But all the moves are a daily occurrence here, and the end result is variable.

  14. I'm glad the chipmunk got away, but on the flip side...the bobcat went without lunch. I am super impressed with the jumping on the tree move.

  15. Yay, chippie! Wow, that cat is fast though - that leap was amazing and I thought that was going to be when he lost the chippie. It's interesting that wild cats play the same games I've seen my own domestic cats play.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  16. I watched a neighbor's cat play with a mouse in a similar fashion. From what I've heard, the 'captured' animal will often play dead, or pretend to be injured by moving in strange ways. It is a ploy to help them get away. THAT is a very cool video.


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