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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Wild Cat Patrols in a Snowy and Very Cold Winter

When we have real winters, like this snowy and cold one, wildlife activity goes way down. Cats are an exception. Usually, we still have mountain lions following the elk herds. This was the first example of 2019.

Bobcats frequent the same scent marking spots as mountain lions. Indeed, a bobcat checked out the spot that the lion marked on 1/3/19 the very next day. He sniffed the pile of pine needles left by the mountain lion, and then he rubbed his cheek on the area where the lion had urinated. I usually think of cheek rubbing as being a way for a cat to leave its own scent in a spot. However, it's not so obvious in this case. Was the bobcat trying to mark over top of the mountain lion scent or was he trying to rub some of the lion scent on himself? I don't know.

That bobcat stopped briefly to soak up the sunshine as he departed the marking site. It made a beautiful sunlit portrait.

Then there was a month's wait before the next mountain lion came through our neck of the woods. That felt like a long time because I'd heard that a mountain had been shot to death by a resident. I wondered if it was one of the lions who I follow with my cams. I still don't know the answer for sure because the most recent lion did not follow exactly the same route as our usual lions follow. I need to keep watching for a while longer before I'll know whether our big male lion is still alive.

The one who was shot had preyed upon some goats multiple times this winter. The goat owner confronted the lion, and the lion lost his life. My biggest question is, why didn't the owner do something to make his goats inaccessible to prevent the lion having to pay the ultimate price? I don't know the answer... but I also don't know all the details.

In any case, a lion finally came through in early February. He marked at one of the usual mountain lion scent posts but skipped others that most of our lions visit. I'm uncertain about whether he was one of our long-term locals or not.

Here is a video showing the marking by mountain lions as well as the sniffing and marking by bobcats. I find it to be so cool to see huge lions and little bobcats marking in the same spots.


  1. it is like a miracle or magic to see your videos... there are so many things to discover what they never show in tv... we grinned a little as we noticed that a friend has cats what look exactly like your bobcat (just smaller lol) ...the secrets of nature never end ;O)

  2. Hari Om
    Peemail is of utmost impawtance!!! YAM xx

  3. They are sure beautiful and I hate to see them lose their life for doing what comes naturally to them.

  4. they are so beautiful and so amazing.. that bobcat is gorgeous. sorry to hear the lion was killed.

  5. Two Minutes And Twenty Two Seconds Of Excellence - Nature At Its Finest - Many Thanx


  6. We're sorry to hear one lion lost his life. Your videos are always so fascinating.

  7. Our neighbors tell us that they see bobcats in our area but the only ones we see are videos on your blog. They have the most beautiful markings.

  8. Fascinating. It looked like the first bobcat was responding with flehmen to the lion scent at 0.26, and the second bobcat as well - but not the third. And that first lion - what a great view of scent marking (seriously)!

    I saw my first and so far only bobcat this summer, at about 6,000' elevation above Boise. We've been looking for lion and bobcat tracks while snowshoeing up there this winter, haven't found any yet. Lots of snowshoe hare tracks and occasional elk tracks (before the snow got too deep and pushed the elk lower down the mountain). We love a snowy winter for the glimpses it shows us of our wild neighbors' activities.

    Chris from Boise

  9. Such beautiful cats! We thought of you when we heard about the jogger who was attacked by a cat while jogging earlier this month. Scary stuff.

  10. Just beautiful wild cats and OMCs they same habits are seen in domestic cats.
    Domestic cats mark with the cheeks to claim their 'owner' or any object as theirs.
    Have you ever noticed one of the wild cats sniffing then all of sudden they raise their head with their mouths just a wee bit opened? In domestic cats we call sending a scent Jacobson...aka they have an organ in the roof of their mouth called Jacobson Organ. It identifies scents. Angel Madi was forever marking us as 'hers'. Especially if we had been outside for any length of time. She would send lots of unidentified scents to Jacobson when her Dad had been out in the yard working.
    Hugs Cecilia

  11. Our cats have done the same, and also have their mouths open as they are near the scent, usually left by a stray cat. The bobcats, so beautiful, and still mighty cold according to your trail cam details.Yes, if you have livestock near wildlife, make sure they are properly secured. Is there a law against shooting any\ that come too near?

  12. My little schnauzer Xena would have been reading that pre mail and saying let me at 'em, not knowing she would be chow.

  13. It is sad that so many people think the solution to a problems is a gun

  14. Both are such beautiful cats, but I just love the markings on the bobcats.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  15. Oh wow. What a wonderful thing to see in your neck of the woods. Wildlife is amazing.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

  16. It may be advantageous for the little bobcats to smell like the lions....

  17. You know we had the same problem here with the mountain lions attacking livestock, and one was shot too. We do have an organization (don't remember the name right now) that goes to ranches and shows the ranchers and farmers how to secure the livestock so mountain lions and coyotes can't get to them. It is highly successful, and sometimes there are donations to help pay for upgrades if the ranchers can't afford it. It is so much better than killing the predators for doing what comes naturally. This way everyone can live safely together. I hopes the big guy is okays.
    Ruby ♥


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