August 02nd, 2019
It's August! Brand new month. Brand new Surprises!
To tell this story properly, I have to back up a few weeks.
A short time ago, Tim and I had just pulled into the driveway and just as we were getting out of the car, this beat up old pickup comes zooming up and then pulls across the end of the driveway coming to a gravel rattling halt. The driver waves Tim over and starts talking to him with lots of arm waving and, I can tell from the volume of his voice, great excitement. After a few minutes, the guy leaves and Tim walks back toward me with a grin on his face, kind of shaking his head.
It seems as if this fellow told Tim that he was tracking a big wildcat and he saw it slip down our side yard toward the back. He was very excited about it. Tim finished up by saying that the guy had obviously been drinking a bit so we assumed that what he actually saw was a dog or a coyote or maybe a fat raccoon. Everyone who lives here has seen a coyote a time or two. But just to be sure, we went into the backyard and....nothin'.
So we shrugged, laughed and went on our merry way.
Now then, I have to mention here that while our family room, which runs the entire width of the back of the house, has loads of windows, this time of year, the blinds are down most of the time to help keep the room cooler. There are blinds, very nice ones, on every window EXCEPT the door. The back door, which has those big glass panels, has no blinds. Ok. Stage is set.
Just after dinner a few nights ago, I was in the family room doing...something...and out of the corner of my eye I saw, through the backdoor windows, motion in the yard. I assumed it was a bunny (they like our yard) but on the off chance that it was a neighborhood dog who has run away from home, I pulled up a blind to check. It. Was. Not. A. Dog.
I think I said, "Holy Crap!" with enough emphasis in my voice that Tim came arunnin'. He echoed my holy crap and raised me one Damn!
This big old cat was casually walking across our backyard from right to left and while we watched, it disappeared into the huge line of tall, dense trees along the left side. Behind the trees is a big old six foot fence but no fence ever stopped a cat.
Tim and I looked at each other. What the heck was that?
I was pretty sure I knew what it was but wanted to be certain so I googled it and yes indeedy. Florida Bobcat! Wow!
Naturally we had to read more about it. I mean if it is spending time in our yard we ought to be a little more familiar don't' you think?
According to what we read, the bobkitty weighs around 30 pounds, is 50 inches long and 21 inches high. The female's territory is about 6 square miles and the male's is 30 !! I have no idea if this cat was male or female. I did not inquire and it did not offer the information. But just from the size that we saw, we are guessing male.
It is not an endangered species, thank goodness, and poses no danger to humans (the vast majority of the time. There could always be some rebel bobcat man-killer I suppose) but small pets are fair game to a wild animal. We have no pets so it's a non-issue for us. But I did make sure our neighbors were aware since most of them do have dogs. Bobcats do have an appetite for rodents including rabbits and squirrels, lizards and birds and since there are plenty of all of that here, I suppose it's good eatin'. Like a wildcat buffet.
It seems that they are solitary creatures so there probably is just the one.
It was thrilling to see a wild animal right there. I mean right there on the other side of the window! The cat didn't seem to either notice us or perhaps it just didn't care that we were watching. But now that I know this cat is around, I will keep my eyes peeled for another sighting.
Our backyard is like a wild preserve anyway. As of this moment, we have no patio, no pool, no reason to be in the backyard. To be honest, I only go out there to pick up fallen palm fronds, to prune trees and shrubs now and again, or sweep the window screens and wash windows.. Yes now and again, I find it necessary to sweep the window screens. The lawn guys, once every week, come here and just about fly through with their lawnmowers. That is it. Currently that is the extent of backyard activity at our house. Once we build a patio and pool, it will be a different story.
I will perhaps be a wee bit more cautious when I'm back there cleaning or pruning now but I honestly don't think I have anything to worry about. I think that bobkitty is smart enough that if he sees that I am there, he will just stay in his little hiding place until I leave before he comes out. He doesn't want to come furry face to naked face with me anymore than I really want to with him.
You see, while I am certainly not a genius, I am smart enough to know that wild animals are not pets, they are not animatronic Disney creations, and although it was a beautiful creature with fur that looked very soft, I should never ever be close enough to it to be tempted to touch it. See, I am smarter than some folks visiting National Parks lately (have you read about that in the news?)
So let's see, by my count now, since we've lived here we've seen in our yard raccoons, an opossum in the garbage can (ick), deer, countless birds both large and small, endless bunnies, several coyotes, lizards of all sorts and now a Bobcat!
I will be content with occasional viewings through our back windows and just the knowledge that the wilds of Florida are right here in our yard. It's almost like living in a Zoo! Florida is a crazy place but kind of awesome too.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.