April 20, 2013


You might recall that in an earlier post I mentioned that we hadn't seen a bobcat in many years, despite looking hard for them in areas that were supposed to have healthy populations. Seeing bobcat tracks last December in Florida was a thrill--just knowing that these predators were hiding in the vegetation nearby was pretty exciting.

Recently we did another fun road trip to Florida, and one day at dusk we were surprised and ecstatic to come around a bend and see an adult bobcat by the side of the road! Even more amazing to us was the fact that we were able to get some photos before it meandered back into the scrub. Here is the first picture, taken very quickly through the car's windshield:

It didn't seem afraid of the car, so I rolled down my window and got another shot:

Finally it turned and slowly walked into the scrub and turned around for a couple more photos:

What a gorgeous animal! Its short tail gives this animal its name, and the broad ruff of facial fur is also characteristic. Bobcats are crepuscular, that is, they are most active a few hours before sunset till midnight, and again from dawn till a few hours after sunrise. Their diet consists mainly of rabbits, hares and a variety of rodents, and varies according to their habitat.

Bobcats are found in a wide variety of places including deserts, swamps, forests and rugged mountain areas. Their populations have declined in certain areas from time to time due to hunting pressure and habitat loss, but by and large they seem to be doing well, despite the fact that they are not commonly seen.

In Ohio, bobcats were extirpated by about 1850, but since 1960 sightings have steadily increased so that now there are probably hundreds in the hills of southern and eastern parts of the state. For more information and some cool video, check out the bobcat posts over at Ohio Birds and Biodiversity.

This sighting certainly was one of the highlights of our trip, and it felt like a real privilege to see and photograph this beautiful and normally secretive animal.


  1. There are so many layers of life all around us; too bad we humans get so hung up on just paying attention to the human layer. Thanks to you and Bill for opening our eyes to these other layers of flowers, trees, butterfies, birds, and of course, bobcats.

  2. Thanks for your note! The thing that often strikes me is how these other layers of life get along as well or better without us humans. So often we just tend to muck things up!

  3. Wow... what a special sighting! I loved your photos. I've never seen one in the wild.