Uncle Cran's Ozark Pet: "Macavity - The Mystery Cat"
Lower Left Quarter of Photo
(Click twice for better viewing.)
My Uncle Cran recently managed to obtain a game-camera photo of a mystery cat on his Ozark farm in northern Arkansas. You can see it in the lower left quarter of the picture if you look carefully. Here are a series of emails between Uncle Cran and his son Mark, beginning with Uncle Cran's:
Here is a new picture of our new house cat. If I could just figure out a way to put a collar on him . . .Mark responded:
He is either a large bobcat, lynx, or small bob-tailed cougar.
This is taken by the cave spring pond.
DadUncle Cran replied:
I think that is a bobcat I've been doing a little research the spots on the body and white patches behind the ears are the markings of the North American bobcat. That's just my opinion.
We were pretty sure it was a bobcat. A lynx is longer legged, with a less dense body. Most lynxes are found farther north of the Ozarks.Mark replied to that:
Part of what I said was a kind of joke, since who ever heard of a bob-tailed cougar?
Actually, pops, there is a species of bobtail cougar. I found photos of them on the Internet, but they are a solid golden tan or reddish brown.Uncle Cran then remarked:
Isn't the internet wonderful? Now, I find that some of my ex cathedra statements are false. I am learning something every day. But I still believe that photo was a bobcat.At this point, I broke into their conversation, requesting a copy of the photo:
Dear Uncle Cran,Uncle Cran complied, sending the photo and saying:
Could you send me the photo?
Jeffery:I'd always thought that a bobcat (so-called due to its short tail) had a squat, short-legged body, but I've looked on the internet and see that I was mistaken. For purposes of comparison, a bobcat is usually about twice the size of a domestic cat, or so says Wikipedia, but that bobcat in the photo above looks larger than this to me. Maybe Uncle Cran can confirm this? The remaining question is what sort of bobcat this is. The Wikipedia entry offers two likely possibilities:
Here is a photo of a bobcat taken by our game camera recently. For the past year or so mountain lions (cougars) have been recorded on film, trapped in a cage, and at least one or two shot and killed in the areas of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Bobcats have always been in this area, and rare sightings of mountain lions have been reported for years. Black bear sightings are reported often, also. I have seen tracks possibly made by bears and mountain lions a few times. Until recently the Game and Fish Commission of both states have denied and even ridiculed such reports, until forced to acknowledge their presence.
So far we haven't seen one on our game cameras.
I'll bet En-Uk would find this interesting.
1. Lynx rufus rufus (Schreber) – eastern and midwestern United StatesNumber two seems most likely, but until we know for sure and have solved this remaining mystery, I'm calling this bobcat "Macavity, the Mystery Cat". Compare with this, too.
2. Lynx rufus floridanus (Rafinesque) – southeastern United States and inland to the Mississippi valley, up to southwestern Missouri and southern Illinois