Since the subject of wildcats has come up this week lets talk about the real wildcat of the River Mountains area. More specifically called the “Bobcat” (Felis rufus or Lynx rufus). The Bobcat is rarely spotted or seen by humans as they are very elusive and nocturnal. This cat is named for its tail, which appears to be cut off or “bobbed.” His other identifying feature is his “tufted” ears. A bobcat is generally twice the size of your house cat and has long legs, large paws, is brownish in color with a white underbelly.
Bobcats are fierce hunters and can kill prey much bigger than themselves, but generally eat rabbits, birds, mice, rats, squirrels and other smaller game. With there close proximity to urban develop around the River Mountains they may also enjoy house cats and small dogs from time to time.
Bobcats are solitary animals. Females choose dens in secluded areas to raise a litter of kittens ranging in number from one to six. The kittens will remain with their mother up to 12-months while learning to hunt before heading out on their own. Bobcats may range an area up to 80-square miles or an area that is less than one square mile, depending on food availability.
In the River Mountains Bobcats have been seen feeding on Desert Big Horn Sheep lambs in the spring.
If you are ever hiking alone in the River Mountains and all of a sudden you get that feeling that you are not alone – that something is watching you and chills run up and down your back – Bobcat!