Bobcats are well-known for being elusive, solitary animals. Their habitat ranges from dense wilderness to swamps and even deserts.
With urban sprawl, they have also adapted to more suburban areas. Last Wednesday, Angela Conrad and family were treated to a rare sighting of this elusive wildcat, and quickly took advantage of the unique opportunity to snap some photos.
“I tapped on the window and it looked right at me for a moment and it was beautiful. Something I hadn’t noticed, it has leopard spots, which surprised me,” Conrad told the Truro Daily News. “I always get a kick out of a bobcat because their heads look disproportionately smaller for their body size. This tiny little head on this enormous body.”
But don’t let their beauty fool you, these cats are expertly designed hunters. While they mostly prey on smaller animals such as rabbits, birds, and rodents, they can take down white-tailed deer more than 8 times their size!
While this bobcat may have appeared to be taking a leisurely stroll through the backyard, Michael Boudreau, a Department of Natural Resources biologist, thinks that hunting was its ultimate goal.
“You’ll notice that there is a bird feeder in the backyard,” said Boudreau. “The cat went to the feeder and it knows that there’s either rats, squirrels, mice or birds there. It smells like it, and the cat’s checking it out as one of its regular routes.”
In the photo, you can see that the bobcat stays at the edge of the forest as it wanders through the Conrad property.
“They like that edge effect. You’re not necessarily going to see a cat out in the middle of a 100-acre field, but you’re going to see it along the edge; that’s where the food is. They are great survivalists. They’re so secretive but most people never get the opportunity to see them. They can live in amongst us and we don’t even know they’re there, for the most part.”
Usually, these wildcats prefer to hunt at dusk and dawn, which only adds to the elusive air that surrounds them. But as temperatures drop and food becomes scarce, bobcats will adjust their hunting schedules to maximize their feeding potential. Lucky for the Conrad family, this switch to daytime feeding worked out in their favour.
“For the most part, people don’t get to see cats like that. It’s a thrill when you do.”