Friday, February 14, 2014

Big Kitty In My Backyard

On Thursday night, I was skimming my neighbor's fallen leaves out of my pool and spa, when I noticed muddy tracks along the side of my pool coping bricks and spa tiles.  I took a few pictures, and I measured them...  and found they were more than 1.5 inches across, and more than 2-1/4 inches long... they looked feline.  No claw marks, with about a 20 inch stride.

I looked closely at our 20 year old cat's paws, and they are much less than 1 inch wide, and less than 1 inch long, and she weighs in around 12 lbs.  A quick google search showed that we Very Likely have a bobcat who is visiting our back yard in the middle of the night.

I'm kind of surprised that we'd have a bob cat being in the middle of the subdivision, and 3 blocks from the closest park, but we are one of the only houses on the block with a pool, and we have no Large Dog in our yard, while 2 of our neighbors have small yappin' dogs.  From the look of the muddy prints, the bobcat probably jumped down from the wooden fence (a 6 foot fence is an easy jump for a bobcat, when they can ascend a 40 foot all saguaro cactus while chased by a mountain lion [link here]).

These don't really look like the splayed, clumsy prints of a lumbering opossum - which my neighbor across the street said used to be digging in his yard.  No, they look very bobcat-like.

We won't be leaving our back door open at night anymore.  A hungry bobcat would eat our house cat for dinner without much of a fight - though probably more of a fight than from the all-bark-no-bite chihuahuas who border us on 2 sides.  Maybe the bobcat is hunting citrus tree rats...  one of whom I executed with a large spring loaded trap 3 weeks ago, baited with guava (not a mouse, a wine bottle sized rat).

Then this morning, I am sipping a cup of tea and looking out the kitchen window, when I see a mass of smashed down, trampled flowers in the corner of my yard.  Upon closer inspection inspection, I did not find any hair, or feathers or paw prints or entrails, nor did I find human foot prints...  but something very large smashed down the previously lively plants that were flourishing the night before.

I am considering investing in a wildlife night camera...   if these sightings continue.

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