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Bobcat Sign

Bobcat “Sit-down”

If you live where there is an abundance of rabbits or hares, you may have a population of Bobcats as well.  These felines are elusive and shy — setting eyes on a Bobcat is a notable event.  One must, for the most part, settle for signs of their presence and the chances of this are much greater in winter.

Bobcat signs include tracks, scrapes/scat, beds, kill sites (https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2021/02/19/bobcats-preying-on-rabbits-hares/) and cache sites (see https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/a-bobcats-white-tailed-deer-cache/) .  Tracks are by far the most common sign.  Occasionally you come across a protected spot where a hunting cat has sat and surveyed the area for prey (see photo). Because time was spent in the same position the details of its tracks can be well defined in the right snow conditions: four toe impressions (one slightly leading) with a large heel pad that often shows two lobes at the top and three on the bottom, and no claw marks.

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Bobcats Preying On Rabbits & Hares

Bobcats are capable of preying on animals as large as White-tailed Deer (which they rarely do), but far more frequently they choose the easier-to-catch rabbit or hare. Typically at dawn or dusk a Bobcat will head out to locate and stalk its prey, slowly getting close enough to pounce on it.  Although they sometimes eat their prey immediately, Bobcats often carry it to a concealed area under brush where they eat it. (see photo).  In this scene, in addition to leaving some of the hair of the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit it consumed, the Bobcat defecated, leaving its blunt-ended, segmented scat as further evidence of its presence (lower right in photo). (Thanks to Jody Crosby for photo op.)

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com  and click on the yellow “donate” button.