Bobcat snags fresh salmon for Christmas
December 19, 2016 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Earlier this week, Ranger Lee Snook took a morning stroll down to Taft Creek, a tributary of the Hoh River, to look for salmon that were spawning. But when Snook arrived at the river, she wasn’t alone. A female bobcat was out fishing, which is not your everyday sighting in the park, since the cats are usually elusive. posted by fraula (50 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
awww cute little murderkitty
posted by entropicamericana at 11:02 AM on December 19, 2016 [30 favorites]


I was living in a cabin up in a hidden valley halfway up a mountain outside of La Grande, OR, and was sitting in a back room which had a small window doing internet stuff when I looked up from the screen and saw this cat walking across the snow outside. I spent a couple of minutes wondering what sort of stray cat would get so far from its home during the winter weather when I realized that EVERYTHING about this cat was entirely out of scale. It was a bobcat coming across the property.

We had some very large wrap-around decks which faced a large meadow/yard space, and I spent probably a half-hour watching the bobcat hunt for field mice. It would stalk and pounce to hunt away from me, but always turned around and stared directly at me while it munched its twitching, bloody catch. Probably saw six or seven mice die while I was watching, always with that direct stare while eating.

Bobcats are totally cool, and really do look like some breeds of housecats only entirely out of scale.

I don't know if they are only elusive in that particular national park, or if they are uncommon to sight everywhere, but I've always really treasured that encounter, despite the gore.
posted by hippybear at 11:02 AM on December 19, 2016 [23 favorites]


can haz
posted by thelonius at 11:05 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's a damn tired salmon, if that thing was at full thrash the cat would have been wishing he had never had the idea to catch him.
posted by ftm at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


cute lil' fuzzy kittah wants fishie, no doubt about it! (And dang, she must have some strong jaw muscles to hold onto one that size.)
posted by easily confused at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


The ones that tire out are the ones that get caught. #naturalselection
posted by hippybear at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


totally unrelated, but is: the author is Alexandra Petri and is in DC, but isn't the same Alexandra Petri that writes the politics blog (compost) for the washington post. (I had to check - a number of washpost authors also free-lance for Nat'l Geo. I think one is Alexandra A Petri the other Alexandra E Petri )
posted by k5.user at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was living in a cabin up in a hidden valley halfway up a mountain

hi how do I get this life

posted by AFABulous at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


hi how do I get this life

Our landlord was a horrible person who only rented out her place during winters because she didn't want to live there during winters, but who was signing 12-month leases with people renting the space and was coming in and kicking people out during summers. A subsequent renter filed a sweeping lawsuit against her, I don't know what became of that. Basically, it sounds too good to be true because it was. *sadness*

posted by hippybear at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


Saw a Bobcat close up a few years ago. It was a drought year, and on a barrier island on the Texas coast, so the water feature that had been built to attract migrant birds was probably the only place to drink for miles. He was tall and skinny and was followed by an obnoxious gang of grackles and jays that were cussing him vigorously. Pretty cool to be sitting in a glider in dense underbrush and have a wildcat drinking 10 feet away. I'm pretty sure he had been unbothered by other birders there before and, again, thirsty.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


an obnoxious gang of grackles and jays that were cussing him vigorously

This made me laugh at my desk, Bee'sWing. Given the grackles and jays I have met before, I can totally totally totally picture it, too.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:34 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


They were really noisy. He headed into some really thick brush to get away from them after he was finished drinking.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:41 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know if they are only elusive in that particular national park, or if they are uncommon to sight everywhere, but I've always really treasured that encounter, despite the gore.

Pretty much every cat that isn't an apex predator (and many that are) and isn't a tame cat confident in its home range is pretty elusive. And while this isn't exactly prime time to visit the Hoh Rainforest area, this isn't happening along some isolated boot path, this is (if Google Maps hasn't mislead me) happening along a nature trail within a few hundred feet of the the parking lot and visitors' center.
posted by wotsac at 11:44 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


As for the salmon being "tired", that's what they do after they spawn (and sometimes before). It's the end of life, and they get pretty thrashed, so bobcats, bears, eagles, and others can gorge.
posted by dbmcd at 11:53 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Bobcats are totally cool, and really do look like some breeds of housecats only entirely out of scale.

I had a house cat that looked almost exactly like a bobcat, but small. Same stubby little tail. Same coloring. Same degree of legginess. She was a sweetheart, I miss her.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:02 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


DO WANT
posted by bleep at 12:19 PM on December 19, 2016


FWIW - I've been an avid hunter for nearly 40 years and have spent hundreds of hours in the woods. I've seen just about every critter there is to see in my area of the country (Tennessee & Kentucky). I've only seen one bobcat. Seeing one in the daylight is a rare event.
posted by bwvol at 12:22 PM on December 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: I've always really treasured that encounter, despite the gore.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:22 PM on December 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


That's a pretty serious fish for a medium size cat. Seems like more than she could eat before it goes bad. Do bobcats keep their adolescent kittens over winter? I wonder if she was hunting for more than one. Or maybe they are just like bears and eat all the best fatty bits and leave the boring meat for scavengers.
posted by tavella at 12:36 PM on December 19, 2016


Similar to bwvol, I lived in Montana for four years and only one of my friends had ever seen one. Bear sightings were more common.
posted by AFABulous at 12:40 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Alarmingly, the pre-video ad on Nat Geo was a bunch of kids splashing in an above-ground pool. Also Judd Hirsch in some sort of renaissance outfit, but he can fend for himself.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:57 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've seen them a few times out here on the prairie. Once, three of us kids went up to the second floor of a farmhouse that had been abandoned for decades. Sprawled on the rusty springs of an old bed was a bobcat. We ran like Usain Bolt that day.

obnoxious gang of grackles and jays

Get a lot of the former and one of two jays every summer. At some point in June our alpha cat, who is part Maine Coon, decides "enough of this harassment" and goes to war. Then it's dead grackles all over the place. Once he even brought down the male blue jay. Birds can fuck with cats but it never ends well.
posted by Ber at 1:04 PM on December 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have yet to see a bobcat in the park, though I have had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a cougar and have seen a fisher since the reintroduction.

I saw an edit of the bobcat video on the ONP Instagram account. Highly recommended.
posted by edeezy at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


while this isn't exactly prime time to visit the Hoh Rainforest area...

My parents had the bright idea to do some wilderness camping there in a November about 20-odd years ago. They packed like for all of our usual Oregon backcountry camping trips, i.e. without accounting for exceptional rain. In a rainforest. I was the only one who dug ditches around my tent the first night. Guess who was also the only one who stayed dry. They were good sports though, we stayed a few nights at different spots. One of my favorite trips. I loved the Hoh more than any other park I've visited, which is saying a lot. You know how Paris breathes medieval city life? The Hoh breathes ancient nature like nowhere else I've been. The Redwoods are incredibly majestic; Yellowstone is mind-blowing; the Hoh is awe-inspiring on every level.

Never seen a wild cat in person. Plenty of bears though – at Crater Lake, Glacier, and Yellowstone. Loved seeing such a beautiful wild salmon as well as the jaunty bobcat in this video. We don't get to see many wild salmon 'round these parts (Europe). If you watch carefully you'll see she clamps down on her hind legs and uses her whole rear weight to keep the fish from pulling her into the creek.
posted by fraula at 1:53 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here's a local news report interview with Ranger Snook.
posted by larrybob at 2:09 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I saw a bobcat the last time I was in Shenandoah, it was sitting near a stone fence on Skyline Drive about 9 at night. I saw my first bears that trip too.
posted by florencetnoa at 2:21 PM on December 19, 2016


Wow, listing to you folks that haven't/seldom seen wild cats, I guess I'm really lucky!

Saw my first bobcat strolling across the visitor's center lawn when I was summer interning at Bruneau Dunes State Park. Saw my second on Syrup Creek several miles from home. It finished drinking, glared at the horse and I, and then casually strolled off. My dog never sounded off or moved. He was good with house cats, but I think he knew he was outclassed big time that day. Saw the third one lounging on a rock up above Rattlesnake Creek. And at least 4 other times. Being on a horse might make a difference.

My first mountain lion was from the truck. The second was on horseback. I didn't know what it was lying on the rock, until I saw this loooong tail gently waving. The wind was to us, and until we got close, he never moved. Then he just teleported somewhere. The scariest lion story is when Mr. BlueHorse and I found tracks in a desert canyon, and started following them. Pretty soon we were on the rim, circling back to where we originally spotted the tracks. Mr. BH figured we'd just cut across to where we found the tracks, climb down, and then head back to the truck. On top of our tracks were tracks of the cat.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:23 PM on December 19, 2016 [14 favorites]


I saw a bobcat once while working as a treeplanter on the coast of BC. Scared the living crap out of me at first - it was around 9:30, the sun was just starting to burn off the morning fog, and I was taking a smoke break when I noticed a silhouette about 30-40 feet up the road. First thought was bear cub, then, when I saw how it moved, cougar cub. Got on the radio and called my boss down ASAP, but he just got really excited. He'd been doing various forms of bushwork for 40+ years and it was only the second one he'd seen.

Anyhow, once I figured out I wasn't in danger, it was a pretty cool experience. Throughout the day he'd occasionally emerge from the residual tree patch he must have been living in and perch on an old growth tree stumpin the shade calmly watching me work. I guess I was like tv entertainment to him, or the human zoo.

Tied with a wolverine for my rarest wild animal sighting. Never did see a cougar.
posted by mannequito at 2:27 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Bobcats are amazingly strong. When I was a kid, one took our full-grown tom turkey and hauled it over a 6-foot chain link fence. The turkey was too big to eat in one go, so the cat covered it up with some leaves to snack on later. We watched for it, and it did come back during the daytime, which is the only time I have seen a bobcat in the wild.
posted by Maxwell's demon at 2:28 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I saw a bobcat at Trader Vic's. Her ear tufts were perfect.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:09 PM on December 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


One of my "if it happens" ambitions is to see a wildcat in the wild. I've seen plenty of coyotes and finally got to see a bear in Hell's Canyon this year, but have never seen a wild feline of any kind.
posted by maxwelton at 3:40 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would be totally excited to see a bobcat for sure but my ultimate cat ambition is to see a mountain lion, which is of course highly unlikely.

I have seen bears, in the smoky mountains NC, and in Yosemite.

I was very impressed with kitty here, thats a pretty big fish!
posted by supermedusa at 3:47 PM on December 19, 2016


also

toucha da fishie
posted by supermedusa at 3:48 PM on December 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


I live near open space, and a bobcat occasionally visits my back yard.

I didn't realize until this article how unusual it is to see one. Now I feel extra cool.
posted by medusa at 4:47 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


My fluffy little chihuahua mix flushed a bobcat out from the brush in my yard one day. The bobcat leapt up the woodpile to the barn roof and stared back down at my tiny dog, who was quite pleased with himself. The look on the bobcat's face was pure what-the-hell-is-that-thing, then it slunk off to the other side of the fence. I don't think it had ever seen a lapdog before.
posted by grounded at 5:22 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've seen a couple of bobcats, but only one cougar. They are hunted pretty hard around here, so it is rare to see one. Bears I see often. People I work with have been seeing a lot of wolves the past couple of years, but I've never seen one in the continental US.

The video reminded me of those videos of jaguars jumping into a muddy river and dragging out an alligator (or caiman, maybe). Housecats tend to hate water, but overall wild cats must do a fair bit of water hunting.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Housecats hate water because they are wusses.

*hehehe*

Wait, what are you doing, Nancy? Get away from my throat and eyes! OMG NO JESUS HELP ME NO ---
posted by hippybear at 6:42 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


weight lifting
posted by hortense at 6:53 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was so stoked to see this news. I think I've been to every zoo on earth that has a fishing cat, and I've only seen them not asleep once, and I've never seen one jump in the water. But seeing one in nature doing its thing, at least I have closure that they actually do the things they reportedly do.
posted by mathowie at 7:28 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I once stayed at The Pack Creek Ranch, on the La Salle Mountains near Moab, Utah. We went for an early evening stroll on a little road along the pasture. I had been listening to a rock chuck chirping out, over and over again. Suddenly this huge dog crossed the path in front of us, smooth and silent. I thought it was a mastif of some sort, such short and even, tan hair. I could see every muscle as it loped, crept toward the chuck. Then I saw the bob tail, and the mutton chops. It was a full grown lynx. It had passed no more than ten feet in front of us, across the rutted road. He had rock chuck on his mind, not tourists. I read later there was a pair of lynx released in the area.
posted by Oyéah at 7:52 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Housecats tend to hate water, but overall wild cats must do a fair bit of water hunting.

Put their food in water and I wager most house cats would get over their aversion pretty quickly. But they're a desert species, so I can't fault a bit of reticence.
posted by wotsac at 9:18 PM on December 19, 2016


That look on her face when she realizes she has defeated the salmon, and then when she stalks off -- that is the same look my cat gets when he has defeated the feather toy.

I've seen a teenage mountain lion up close, when I was hiking. (Not my photo, but a pretty similar mountain lion, in terms of age. He still had the spots on his hind legs.) He was walking along the trail. I froze when I saw him, then had a moment of panic when I couldn't remember whether one should be big (wave your arms) or small (crouch down) when encountering mountain lions. I went back a few feet to the start of the trail, hoping for a helpful sign with instructions. There wasn't one. I started back down the trail. The mountain lion was still there. He didn't move, and he kept looking at me. I attempted to Google "What to do mountain lion" but had no cell service. I felt like the most suburban hiker ever. The mountain lion kept looking at me.

He eventually sashayed farther down the trail. I gave him some time, then continued on the trail. I caught up to him again. He gave me an annoyed look, and eventually went perpendicular to the trail into the brush.

I probably should have been scared. I was mostly fighting an IMMENSE urge to scritch his whiskery cheeks because he was entirely too adorable.
posted by lazuli at 10:59 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh! And for future reference, one should get big when one encounters a mountain lion. And pick up small children so they look big, too, if I'm remembering correctly.
posted by lazuli at 10:59 PM on December 19, 2016


Yeah - the advice I was always given for cougars is act/look big, maintain eye contact, and move slowly but firmly sideways away from them.

Bears are act big, back away slowly, no eye contact.

Recently had a really close encounter with a moose (10-15ft) and realized I'd never heard any tips for what to do in such a situation, but I think moose are so dumb they don't give you any chance, they either panic and charge or completely ignore you. This one showed me his ass and went back to drinking from the bog he was in.
posted by mannequito at 12:07 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes. Good kitty.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:05 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


WHO ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE LIVING IN CABINS AND PRAIRIES AND MONTANA SEEING ALL THESE COOL THINGS?!?(I want to be you)
posted by bluesky43 at 5:59 AM on December 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Bears are act big, back away slowly, no eye contact.

I have immense respect for bears. They always seem bigger. Even a 'little' German Shephard sized bear gets REALLY big when they stand up. My acting feels pretty wimpy. I guess because moose are sort of horse-shaped, I'm not as intimated by them. Well, except for the part that I've heard they can kill you and move pretty fast.

Bluesky, I live in a house. In Idaho High Desert. About 6 miles out of town.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:32 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


WHO ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE LIVING IN CABINS AND PRAIRIES AND MONTANA SEEING ALL THESE COOL THINGS?!?

I went to college in Montana but couldn't stick around due to the lack of jobs. That's the major thing that keeps me from going back. My life's dream is to live in a cabin in the mountains.
posted by AFABulous at 10:34 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Recently had a really close encounter with a moose (10-15ft) and realized I'd never heard any tips for what to do in such a situation

My secondhand moose-encounter story was from an ex who grew up in Anchorage and was doing some construction/handyman work there one summer. He drove up, got out of the car, walked to the house, saw a mama moose and a baby moose, and saw that he was about to be in between the two. He backed slowly up and went and sat in his car till he could approach the house again without getting in between the two. There was an opportunity, so he tried -- but the meeses moved and he retreated back to his car. He did this over the course of several hours before giving up the construction job for the day. The story always made me wonder about how much time is lost in construction to wildlife-avoidance.
posted by lazuli at 7:20 PM on December 20, 2016


Come to Tucson, rent an apartment in the foothills or that backs onto a wash or onto the desert and you will see bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, javalina, hawks, and owls. Tucson is pretty cool that way.

The predators are rough on the local small pet population though, and I know one couple who saw a bobcat take their chihuahua right out of the yard in front of them. I have another friend who got a very large dog as a friend for her 10 pound dog. A small part of the motivation was to have protection for the smaller dog in the yard.

The most out there second-hand story I have is I know a guy who was hiking down here with his wife and dogs. They were stalked and attacked by a mountain lion which is really strange behavior, and it did turn out to be rabid. He told the wife and dogs to run and ended up fighting off and killing the lion with his rock hammer. Geologists are prepared that way.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:06 AM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


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