By Dan Weisz
I know there is a bobcat family living in the neighborhood but it is rare for me to see them. It is even more rare for me to see any of them and have my camera close at hand. The other afternoon I looked out of the kitchen window to see a bobcat walking up to the water in my yard. It stared at the kitchen window for a bit and then continued until it reached the water where it began drinking. It continued to drink for the longest time, pausing only to look to its left and then to its right where it would study me.
At one point it opened its mouth, perhaps to take in air to examine in its scent glands. Here is a simple explanation of what it might be doing in this photo. https://catbehaviorassociates.com/what-is-the-vomeronasal-organ/
This bobcat has a scar across its nose. That is a distinctive mark which may help me ID it in any future meetings we have.
Bobcats have white spots on the backs of their ears, called eye spots. It is thought that those white spots help bobcat kittens see and follow their mother during the dark night. It is also possible that those “eyes” deter any predators or competitors who see the bobcat from behind during the night and may think the cat is looking at them.
When the bobcat finished drinking, he slowly turned around to head back in the direction he came. I thought it was interesting that he hardly moved his back feet and just turned around in a circle on them. Was he being lazy or is that just an efficient way for him to turn around??
As he left, he paused to look into the kitchen window one last time. You can see the bobbed tail that gives this species its name. Doesn’t this bobcat have such a nicely spotted coat?
Besides his large paws, look at how large his back legs are compared to his front legs. Those muscular haunches are used when the bobcat springs on prey.
The temperatures last week ranged up into the 100’s, so I know the bobcat is likely to return. I just hope he does so during the daytime and when I am looking out the kitchen window.