Watcher in the Woods
When you’re in the woods do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Do you feel unseen eyes gazing upon you and following your every step? You feel nervous. Hairs stand up on end. You want to run. You need to get away!
I imagine that is how this Bobcat felt as I watched it cross a field, spring across the trail dart into the woods and crouch down, waiting for me to leave.
Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are shy, ubiquitous felines that range from southern Canada, throughout the United States and into Mexico. They tend to be smaller in Florida with males averaging 25 pounds and females 15 pounds. Relative to the three foot long tail of the Florida Panther, the six inch “bobbed” tail is distinctively shorter. Most Panther sightings, although still exciting are Bobcats.
Here in Florida the Bobcat feeds on Raccoons, Opossums, Cotton Rats, Squirrels, Rabbits and other small prey items. I’m not on the menu and I’m at no more risk from the cat than the cat is of me.
As I stare between two pines and through the brush I can see the Bobcat starring back at me. The tan and black markings help conceal it. Its unflinching, stone-faced stare is mesmerizing. Hypnotizing. The longer I stare the more my mind begins to convince me the cat is not there. I know it is. But I blink and it’s gone.