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Lynx rufus rufus

At one point we started noticing some interesting scat on our hiking trail. We also spotted something that looked like a very large cat. That got our attention. Next we noticed scratches on trees near where we saw the large cat – but we’re sure if it was bear or feline – maybe a Mountain Lion? Well, time to get a camera trap!

How excited we were when we got these photos of our resident Bobcat. Yes, please bobcat (or “bobbers” or “squats” as we named them), eat the mice that get in our car, and the rabbits that eat my garden. But leave those chickens alone…

What a beautiful cat. In Virginia, the bobcat is considered the only “wildcat” here, however many people that I know have seen Mountain Lions, so I’m not sure if that’s so accurate of a claim any longer.

These are super shy solitary felines, although by chance my partner spotted it once in person on our driveway. (My driveway, by the way, seems to be the litterbox of the wild! Perhaps the gravel is litter-box-like? I mean, there’s always lots of big scat like coyote, bobcat, raccoon, fox, and who knows what else left for us to discover on it). I digress, however. The area we put the camera trap is where we found scratches in the ground and some cat looking scat. If you check out other entries on this site, you’ll see that this spot was a wildlife highway! Everyone went by this old stump to see what’s going on in the neighborhood….

This great description is from the Maymont (in Richmond)’s website: “These solitary creatures emerge from their daytime resting place, usually a rock cleft or thicket, to hunt at night. Sometimes bobcats will rest on a boulder or a low tree branch, its mottled fur providing excellent camouflage. When raising its young, the bobcat uses a permanent den, but during the rest of the year, it uses a “resting shelter” once a day or every few days. Possible resting shelters include thickets, fallen trees, a hollow snag or hollow logs.

The dens used to raise kittens (usually from April or May until fall) are most often located under logs concealed by vines, in hollows of decomposing windfalls, in root depressions from uprooted trees or in small rocky caves. Young bobcats will remain with their mother for up to a year but may begin hunting on their own at about six months. Humans and dogs are the most important predators of bobcats, with hunting and trapping accounting for over 90% of bobcat deaths. Mountain lions may occasionally prey on bobcats, and coyotes have been observed to tree them.”

Size:  Medium sized cat with a total length of 24-40 inches and a weight of 10-33 pounds.
Family: Felidae (Cat Family)
Habitat:  Forests, mountains, swamps, and rural farms. They are very solitary and shy.
Identifiers: Coat has dark spots, tufted ears and a short “bobbed” tail. Its color varies from tawny brown in summer to grayish in winter.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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