Showing posts with label bobcat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bobcat. Show all posts

July 11, 2019

Bobcats Released, Bunnies Beware


Bobcats. Photo by Tom Sanders, Wet Mountain Wildlife.
Two  bobcat kittens (Felis rufus) came into the local rehabilitation shelter a year ago. Actually, at one point there were three, but one released himself, hung around for a time for the free meals, and then went on his way. These two stayed put and ate rats. Lots of rats, delivered by the Rat Man, who was usually me.

I picked up so many rats at the Raptor Center that I felt I needed a steampunk Rat Man costume and a Cockney accent: "Foine rats, madam. None better!"

I always thought the Raptor Center raised their own rats and mice, but they buy them too. They come neatly arranged on a plastic-wrapped foam tray, just like when you buy rats at the supermarket. 

Rats may be ordered by size, up from "pinkies" to "jumbo," or whatever the New York-size ones are called.

But enough about rats. The bobcats are them, grew up, and on the summer solstice they were released on the High Plains near Limon, Colorado. If you were thinking of them as a forest cat, think again — they were found near Limon, and they can make a living on rabbits, rodents, and maybe by scavenging birds knocked out the sky by the renewable electricity project in the background of the video (courtesy of Colorado Parks & Wildlife).

July 18, 2018

An Injured Bobcat and the Seduction of the "The Mission"

Will s/he make it through the night?
The call came as M. and were finishing supper and planning to watch an episode of Orange is the New Black. A game warden wanted to meet us in the next county to the north with an injured bobcat, which we would take to the rehabilitation center.

There was the usual back and forth over where to rendezvous; then I grabbed a bobcat-sized carrier (medium) and my welder's gloves, and we were off.

Pretty soon we're at the rendezvous point, and here comes this shiny black Colorado Parks & Wildlife truck. And in the back in another carrier is a very displeased bobcat who did not want to move from its carrier into mine, so I had to reach in and grab him.

Touch not the cat bot a glove, as the Scots said. There is some truth to that. It was kind of a "Here, hold my beer" moment, only I had no beer.

I stuffed the unhappy cat into my carrier, and we set off. At the center, we put the carrier in one of the enclosures. The bobcat will get food and water, and in the morning — if it's still alive — its caretakers will decide what to do next.

The backstory was kind of sketchy — someone in the Colorado Springs area had found it apparently dead (hit by a car?) and put it in a pillowcase in order to deposit it in a trash can (!!), when it came to life. Or something like that. Internal injuries?

As we drove to meet the game warden, I was thinking how I am someone who lives in his head a lot, usually having internal dialogs about how this project is behind and how I need to get going on that article and when am I going to fix XYZ around the house and on and on.

And then, whether it is the volunteer fire department or the wildlife transport gig, the radio squawks or the telephone rings and  . . . that's it. Get the appropriate gear and go.

The change is almost relaxing. It's like an altered state. There is only The Mission, and everything else is shoved into the background. I think we humans like that state of being.

A fire call came in last winter for a structure fire at the far edge of our service area, about a 45-minute drive from the firehouse.

One engine had taken off ahead of me, and I was driving a second one, alone— a violation of the procedure that normally required a minimum of two firefighters per engine, except that another guy was coming in his own vehicle to meet me on-scene.

It was just before dawn, and I was going up this lonely winding canyon road with the red and blue lights bouncing off the rocks and cliffs beside the road, like my own private rave.

Dream-like. . . . I could have gone on and on and on.

UPDATE, JULY 25, 2018:  The bobcat was released today in the foothills near the rehabiliation center. The rehabbers said that it took off like a rocket when they opened the door of its carrier.