Jan writes, "The bobcat wandered down my path and paused to look back in my direction, although I don't think he saw or heard me inside behind the closed window. Judging by his, um, anatomy, this appears to be a male. I took a series of photos of him swishing his short tail back and forth, like cats tend to do. The short, black-tipped tail looks like it has been "bobbed" (meaning cut back artificially), and is why we call them bobcats." Jan asks also to note the white amaryllis in bloom in the background of this photo!
"The tufted black-and-white ears of bobcats are quite distinctive, along with the short black-tipped tail I mentioned earlier. They are generally solitary outside of females rearing their young and have home ranges that range from 3 to 20 square miles, depending upon the habitat quality and prey base. The average range of a bobcat is probably around 4 to 5 square miles (12 to 15 square kilometers) in decent habitat with a good prey base and several denning and sheltering spots. Males have larger ranges than females do, and ranges of the sexes do overlap a bit. Wild animals tend to live for not much more than 7 to 8 years. They can weigh from 20 to 50 lbs (9 to 23 kg), with the larger animals living in more northerly and forested habitats and smaller ones living in deserts, dry mountains, prairies, and scrublands. The natural range of bobcats is most of the continental US and southern Canada down to southern Mexico, with a conspicuous gap in many of the most agricultural Midwestern US states."
"Bobcats are closely related to the more northerly-living lynx. But they are smaller, live in more types of habitat, and are overall quite tolerant of human activites, unlike lynx. As long as a bobcat can find appropriate food and shelter, they can easily live in suburban regions and on the edges of farmland and forest. Dense urban areas and intensive agricultural regions are not as conducive to their survival needs, but otherwise these are adaptable creatures that seem capable of living with humans in at least low numbers."
"The bobcat finished his pre-sunrise drink and wandered back in front of my bedroom window. Before leaving, he paused to spray one of my barrel cacti with his urine. This scent-marking is a clearly territorial behavior to other cats, letting them know that he owns me. Fine with me as long as he eats rabbits and rodents. As a carnivore, I welcome bobcats because they won't show any further interest in my plants. Plus urea is a good fertilizer...."