Natural Sightings

A hunting Bobcat moves silently through a Valley Oak savannah.

Daniel Curnow took this photo in the Tehachapi Mountains of a hunting Bobcat as it moved silently through a Valley Oak savannah. Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are widespread throughout the Tehachapi Mountains, but their stealthy habits keep them from being seen most of the time. Bobcats are both everywhere and nowhere — everywhere in terms of their distribution, and nowhere if you go looking for them.

However, their relative abundance and their close proximity to homes and human activity means that local residents often catch glimpses of them as they go about their Bobcat business, which mostly consists of stalking rabbits, gophers and other small prey.

They also spend a fair amount of time in seemingly leisure activity — they are cats, after all — and even when they are not hunting, Bobcats observe their surroundings and the activities of other creatures with whom they share their habitat.

The hardest working Bobcats are mothers with kittens, for like domestic housecats, the raising of young is left entirely up to the females. Bobcat mothers typically den up in a rocky outcropping or the hollow inside a large fallen tree trunk.

There she will raise her babies, nursing them exclusively for about the first month and then starting to bring back prey to share with them. It is when the kittens are a couple of months old that the mother Bobcat is busiest, for then she has to hunt to feed both herself and her growing brood.

The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Paiute) name for Bobcat is tukuts, pronounced "TUH-kuts."

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.