Bobcat Rescue

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur.

Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr.

–Lyrics by Melania Trump (apologies to Chuck Lorre)

 

An adult female bobcat was presented to Peace River Wildlife Center recently after having been hit by a car in the Rotunda West area near Englewood.  She suffered an abrasion to the side of her head and a corneal ulcer.  On admission she was awake but unusually docile.  Minimally responsive and with unequal pupils, she was obviously suffering from fairly severe head trauma.  She was conscious, but did not exhibit the appropriate reticence and fear of the people around her.

She spent the first few days in PRWC’s surgery / isolation ward.  As she became more aware of her surroundings, she was moved to an outdoor habitat, where she began to eat and drink on her own.  At 18 pounds she was thin and muscular when she got here, but her appetite became voracious as she regained full consciousness.  We did not recheck her weight immediately before release.  She was surly enough without adding insult to injury (our own, potentially, at that time), no lady likes to have her weight announced.

Each day she became more responsive to the people moving around in and near her cage.  Within a week she was growling in the presence of people and hiding—normal behavior for an adult bobcat.  On her last day with us, she was quite difficult to catch up and get into a kennel for transport.

The recovered bobcat was taken back to the area from which she was rescued for release.  The video of her release is on PRWC’s Facebook page and blog, but don’t blink.  She takes off like she was shot out of a cannon.

Bobcats are found throughout North America.  About twice the size of a domestic cat, they usually weigh 12-28 pounds, have a short tail and dark spots on a golden coat, with a long, lean body.  Tufts of fur on their black ears are accented by white spots on the backs of the pinnae.

The cats’ home territories can range from one to six miles, depending on the amount of development versus natural habitat available.   They are well adapted to many areas of Florida, both rural and urban.  Adept at hiding in thick scrub and relatively inhospitable environments, they are seldom seen.  A bobcat’s diet consists primarily of squirrels, rabbits, rats and birds.  They usually hunt at night, but it is possible for a lucky person to get a glimpse of them during daylight hours, as they sleep only two to three hours at a time.

Breeding season is August to March.  Luckily for our little lady, she did not have any youngsters at home depending on her while she was vacationing at Club PRWC.  She is back home now and ready to resume her normal activities.  Carried in like a lamb, she marched out like a lion.  A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh.  She sleeps in the jungle tonight.  The jungles of Rotunda West that is.

by – Robin Jenkins, DVM

Bobcat close-up
Bobcat close-up
Bobcat release
SUN PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA HERRERA
The Rotonda West Bobcat jumps through the brush following her release.
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