Sunday, February 14, 2010

Felis Finding

Lars was again out on Delaney 3 days ago after the dusting of snow. These tracks are feline, but small. They measure out in size between that of a house cat and a bobcat. I was quite far out, well away from houses, and the prints came up from a frozen swampy are, up and over the esker. The third photo crosses the trail of a coyote for comparison.

Opinions? Is it Fluffy or L. rufus?

1 comment:

  1. Lars,

    I think this is probably Fluffy. The tracks really don't look big for a house cat to me, if you notice that the animal is not exactly direct registering.

    But, unless there are nice clear tracks, I rely more on trail measurements than track size. Assuming that what you have shown above was typical of the trail, then it's more consistent with house cat, in my opinion.

    While there is plenty of overlap in weight between bobcat and house cat, there probably isn't much overlap in lean weight. Many male house cats exceed 15 lbs, but most of them are not as long and lanky as small female bobcats, even subadults at this time of year. I have one such 15 lb house cat, thin by most house cat standards, but not by wild animal standards, and his trails look diminutive compared to any bobcat trail I have seen.

    You probably already know this, but one thing to keep in mind is that when a bobcat is walking slowly, trail width should be very wide. A house cat can trot with step lengths that exceed 12 inches, but by then the trail width will be quite narrow.

    But of course I could be wrong here. I am curious to see if anyone thinks this is bobcat. At the very least you have convinced me that I should be spending more time at Delaney!