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Seeing an adorable wildcat waltz through your yard is not usually an everyday occurrence, but in recent weeks, Bobcat sightings have been reported all across the province.
On Jan. 13, a Lucasville resident posted a fascinating video on her Facebook page showing a trio of bobcats strolling leisurely through her backyard. Recently, the Facebook page “We Love Nova Scotia” featured three photos of the cuddly cat in Cape Breton, Lower Sackville and Middle Musquodoboit.
“That’s amazing,” said Michael Boudreau, a wildlife biologist with Department of Natural Resources. “You don’t generally get to see bobcats very often. We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful animal in our wild lands."
Although you may not always see them, it’s not that they’re hiding, he says. In winter, they move in search of food “mostly at night, early morning, late evening and people are right there. They just don’t see them. The snow covering makes them easier to spot. If there was no snow you’d likely miss them. They’re very mysterious, cryptic animals.”
All about bobcats
Bobcats aren’t at risk in the province and Boudreau says there have been more sightings than usual this year.
“From what I’ve heard from trappers in the province there seems to be a lot of bobcats around this year. In some cases more bobcats than coyotes.
“Most of those reports I’m getting are coming out of Cumberland, Colchester, Kings and Queens County. There’s also some coming from Lunenburg and Halifax. But it doesn’t mean that they’re just there. A friend of mine in Inverness County saw four of five this winter and normally he doesn’t see them at all. They are on the move and they’re hungry.”
Karen Dean happened to be folding laundry in the afternoon of Jan. 16, when she spotted a pair of spirited bobcats on her farm property in Middle Musquodoboit.
They hung around for about an hour, darting around her property before one chased the other up a tree. She captured the spectacle with her camera.
“It made my day,” she said. “They’re just majestic animals, so mysterious and their markings are so beautiful. I was able to get about 20 feet away from one and it seemed to just try to shrink and disappear into the snow.”
Dean thought she might have witnessed a mating dance. But Boudreau says it’s too early for mating season.
He figured that they could have been juveniles practicing survival tactics.
“What looks like playing is actually the animals learning to catch prey or learning to defend themselves from one another and other animals. One could be more dominant than the other and asserting its dominance.”
Rare or not, there’s no doubt Bobcats are one of Nova Scotia’s natural wonders.
They’re one of Boudreau’s favourite animals, largely for their resilience and elusiveness.
“They eat rabbits, birds, squirrels, deer, and they’re scavengers. They’re just fascinating animals. They’re survivors.”