A Bobcat in the Neighborhood
Humans and Nature Together Again
With some older central cities being the exception, our modern cities with single family homes sitting on large lots and surrounded by wide swaths of green space or vacant land provide good habitat for animals as well as humans.
While late nineteenth and early twentieth century people worried about loss of wilderness and wildlife due to increasing urbanization, contemporary urban residents worry about how to deal with increasing numbers of wild animals that are posing a threat to property and even life itself.
A couple of years ago after hearing that a friend of mine's husband had collided with a deer on the road at night for the second time in two years, I ran across an article claiming that property damage from collisions with deer and other wild animals inhabiting suburban areas had reached over a billion dollars a year as well as costing the lives of close to 300 people per year.
An Evening Visit by a Bobcat
My family and I live in a suburban neighborhood consisting of about 150 townhouse homes on small lots in close proximity with patches of open desert around us in suburban Tucson, Arizona.
While not frequent, we have had javalinas and coyotes wander through the neighborhood on occasion. They were as wary of us as we were of them so both kept our distance. Unfortunately, they did not wait around for me to get my camera.
We also had a large snake in the back yard - my wife thought it was a sidewinder rattlesnake but a fellow Hubber pointed out in the comments on that article that it was a harmless gopher snake. She was able to get pictures of that snake.
My wife also got some nice pictures of a bobcat which tends to visit the yard of the hospice where she works. The hospice is located in a semi-rural enclave with a fair amount of vacant land and homes built on large lots. Despite the fact that this area is a semi-developed island completely surrounded by urban development, many wild animals live in this enclave.
At twilight one evening she was able to get some good pictures of the cat as it made its way through the yard of the hospice. While her photos were somewhat dark, I was able to enhance them and lighten them up using the tools that accompany Windows Photo Gallery.
Bobcats, whose scientific name is Lynx Rufus, are common in common to the American Southwestern and are close relatives of the Canadian Lynx and similar species of such cats which are found all over North America.
Bobcats, like many other members of the cat family, are nocturnal and can be found mostly at night. They are thus not commonly seen by the average person hiking in the wild or in their backyards in places like Tucson. As mentioned above, these photos were taken shortly after sunset when the bobcat began his prowl for food at night.
While bobcats and their close relatives are common and are on display in many zoos, they are often difficult to see in zoos as most zoos are open only during the day and the most one usually sees of these types of cats is a furry ball sleeping in a cornor.
Bobcats are carnivores who hunt and eat meat. Because bobcats are not very large their size being about twice that of a housecat, their prey tend to be small and include rabbits and other small rodents as well as other small prey like insects and family pets. According to WikiPedia, they have been known to go after deer on occasion as well.
As to family pets, a bobcat will attack small dogs, however, according to people I have talked to, this is not common unless the dogs get out and are running loose at night in areas where bobcats are present. Owls, another nocturnal hunter, actually present a greater threat to small dogs in yards at night although even they are not a major threat if owners keep an eye on their small dogs in the evening.
Taking Time for a Drink
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