Monday, February 18, 2013

Trail of bobcat tracks dragging rabbit

Really wonderful tracking in an apple orchard in Bolton this morning! Coyote trails criss-crossing everywhere. Abundant cottontail trails at the edges, and some venturing out into the orchard. The photo shows a trail of bobcat tracks with drag marks - probably the two hind feet of the rabbit. A google search of images of "bobcat carrying rabbit" does show that the cat often carries it such that the hind feet are hanging low. For example:

It's interesting that the drag marks zig-zag. I think this is because the cat's head shifts to the side opposite that of the fore paw which is bearing the weight in each step, in order to maintain balance. I tried to verify this, and my head does that when I get on all 4's and walk like a cat.

These tracks were fairly fresh, because they hadn't been blown out yet (except at the top of the hill, where it was most exposed), despite this morning's fierce wind. In the top photo, the bobcat was moving away from the camera and into the brushy edge and woods beyond the orchard. We followed it out, and you will see what we found on my next post.



  1. Great tracks! With the zig zag of the track, I can picture the rabbit's body swinging back and forth with the gait of the bobcat. I would expect that the lateral span of the track would be slightly widened with the load-carrying.

  2. You're right about the rabbit swinging from side to side!

  3. Janet, love the photo story here but, for complete clarity, would appreciate your posting a short video of your demonstration of the cat-walk.

  4. Sorry Susan, but you'll have to make so with the video of the cat. Anyway, I am glad Lars pointed out the swinging tendency of the extra "load". It is what I see my cat's tummy do when she walks. So let's remember that if we find smaller cat tracks with a swinging load, consider chubby house cat, not necessarily carrying prey.

  5. Although I have nothing to show for it, two days ago at about 10:30am, I had the good fortune of seeing a bobcat cross the road near where the above photos were taken.

    I was out walking, when the cat suddenly appeared about 20 feet before me, crossing the street from the woods to the orchard. It was clearly startled to see me, and when it reached the cover of some brush at the edge of the orchard, it sat down and studied me. We stared at each other for a few seconds, while I fumbled with my camera case. By the time I had the camera out, the cat had disappeared.

    I also have nothing to show for my ground hog sighting this morning. It was gathering nest material in some brush at the edge of the road. Too slow with camera once again...

    1. I'm jealous; I've been hoping to catch a glimpse of that cat for ages. And it's very cool that he/she gave you a chance to study each other.

    2. Yes, it was cool, and I was glad I was on foot and not in a car. From snow tracking, I know this cat crosses the road frequently, and I am always worried I will find it dead on the road someday, or hit it myself while driving there at night.