Florida’s Other Native Wild Cat
BY MERRY BETH RYAN
Friday, October 17, 2008 — Time: 8:56:35 AM EST
The Florida bobcat is very reclusive and not seen often. But when you are lucky enough to see one, you are able to see just how beautiful an animal the bobcat is. They look like an exotic cat that should be behind bars in a local zoo, yet they roam freely, mainly in wooded areas.
Here in Florida, when bobcats are spotted, they are usually seen roaming on golf courses or wooded private properties throughout the state. They normally do not want to be near people, so bobcat sightings are rare. They tend to go their own way and do not bother humans.
The Florida bobcat is a medium sized cat. Their average weight is between 15 and 30 pounds. They have a very short stub of a tail, hence earning them their name. Their legs are relatively long for the size of their bodies. They have great leaping ability and can run very fast which helps them catch their prey. Bobcats have been known to be able to take down a white tail deer. They have tremendous patience and are able to stalk their prey in silence until they are ready to leap toward the animal, which usually ends the hunt.
The bobcat is a predator of small game. The rabbit is their top preferred food. They also feed heavily on rodents and other small animals.
The bobcat feels at home in the forest as well as in the swamp. Bobcats are great hunters and have very sharp claws as well as razor sharp teeth to help them hunt. They hunt by sight and do most of their hunting at night. During the day the bobcat usually stays out of sight.
Bobcats are very territorial, and they tend to choose areas that have a good food source located in dense areas.
This past summer, I was blessed with seeing a bobcat in the wild right across the street from my home. My niece and nephews from Georgia were here on their summer vacation, and they too were able to witness this beautiful cat in the wild.
When my 8-year-old nephew Pierce came running up the stairs to tell me to come quick he saw a “tiger,” I knew I better get my camera and be ready to shoot some photos. We all sat a safe distance away and watched the bobcat with great appreciation for creatures in the wild.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org