Thursday, November 30, 2006

Felis Rufus

Today we were riding down Ormsby Blvd, a stretch of road that divides two cow pastures. I happened to glance up the road, and I saw a woman walking down the side of the road. Just a few feet behind her I saw what I at first thought was a coyote crossing the road. My second thought is that it might be her pet dog, trailing behind her. The animal darted through the willows, under the barbed wire fence, and into the cow pasture, so I decided it wasn't her pet. I pulled over and peered through the trees. It looked like a coyote, but it had a short stubby head. I finally realized it was a big bobcat!

I frantically called Kristy and Barbara back to where I had pulled over. We all stood and watched in awe at the beautiful creature. And as luck would have it, I had my camera. I got the camera all ready, but I couldn't quite see over the willows for a clear shot. I turned the LCD screen on so I could see what I was shooting as I held the camera up in the air. Suddenly the camera shuts down, and a warning comes up on the screen, "REPLACE BATTERY PACK". Damn it all to Hell! I tried a few more times, but I couldn't get the camera to stay on long enough to take a picture.

Since I didn't have a picture, I enlisted the help of my six year old son for this scientific illustration of the bobcat, or "Felis Rufus" for our Latin speaking friends. Barbara did some quick research on Felis Rufus, and found this article. According to the article, Felis Rufus averages 15 - 20 lbs, the larger specimens reaching 30 lbs. I'm thinking the cat we saw today was 30 lbs minimum. Maybe even 40 lbs. It was big enough to be a smaller mountain lion in my opinion. Life is obviously good for this cat, as food appears to be plentiful.

The article goes on to say that contrary to their pussycat-like appearance, bobcats are quite fierce, equipped to bring down larger animals. I'm glad I read that part after standing within pouncing distance trying desperately to get a picture!

Kathy mentioned seeing the cat the night before. I think all these sightings may propel the cat to celebrity status. Hopefully it'll stay out of trouble and not get messed with by the Department of Wildlife or some trigger happy rancher!

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