48" x 68" unframed
55" x 75" framed
© SHELLEY HESSE 2018
The Bobcat or Lynx rufus is a North American cat that first appeared during the Irvingtonian stage around 1.8 million years ago. About twice the size of a domestic cat, it ranges from southern Canada to central Mexico, including most of the United States. It is a highly adaptable predator that survives on rabbits and hares, as well as insects, chicken, geese, and other birds. Occasionally it will hunt deer, but it prefers smaller, unthreatening animals such as the rabbit. It inhabits wooded areas as well as semidesert, urban edge, and swampland environments. Stealth, patience, and large paws make bobcats efficient hunters. They can pounce on their prey from a distance of 10 feet and are incredible climbers, capable of gripping with their front and back paws.
Although Bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans for both fur and sport, their population is resilient, though declining in some areas. They are also the prey of coyotes and domestic animals. As common as the bobcat may be, most people will never see one because they are solitary, secretive creatures, named for their short 4-7 inch long tail. Mother bobcats produce litters of one to six kittens and those kittens stay with their mother for 9 to 12 months. The Louisiana Bobcat Refuge, a patch of pine forest west of Lafayette, is among the 69 wildlife rehabilitation facilities permitted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, yet is the only one solely dedicated to the shy and elusive bobcat.
Native American tribes like the Pawnee used bobcat furs to wrap their babies after birth to give them beautiful blessings since bobcats were linked to the stars and celestial powers.
“Each place its own mind, its own psyche. Oak, Madrone, Douglas fir, red- tailed hawk, serpentine in the sandstone, a certain scale to the topography, drenching rains in the winters, fog off-shore in the summers, salmon surging up the streams- all these together make up a particular state of mind, a place-specific intelligence shared by all humans that dwell therein, but also by the coyotes yapping in those valleys, by the bobcats and the ferns and the spiders, by all beings who live and make their way in that zone. Each place its own psyche. Each sky its own blue.”