Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rabbit control

About 8:30 this morning we saw four bobcats -- presumably mom and three young ones -- move across the open area in front of our house. I have seen bobcat prints in the snow, but until now had not seen even one of the actual critters.
The cats moved out of the woods that populate the hill south of our house, through the open areas and into the garden north of the house. These photos were taken with a 300x telephoto lens through glass on a cloudy morning. Yet you can still see the beautiful spotted pattern on their coats.
Bobcat kittens start learning to hunt by following mom when they are about five months old. Our mom was probably showing these kittens how to sniff out rabbits. I've seen one hanging around lately.
Bobcats eat rabbits, rabbits and more rabbits. Rabbits make up at least half of their diet. Perhaps this mama bobcat has claimed our homestead as her territory and will be on rabbit patrol this summer.
Bobcat kittens strike out on their own at seven to nine months. Sometimes siblings remain in a family group for a while.
I was surprised at how small these wild cats are, they didn't seem much bigger than a large house cat.
However, when the adult went past our Honda Civic that sits outside, its back was at the middle of the front bumper. So they are a bit bigger than house cats, more the size of a small-medium dog.

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