Just like other wildlife in the Shuswap during a cold, snowy winter, bobcats searching for food have been venturing closer to people.
Bobcats or lynx – which can easily be misidentified – have just been spotted in the Chase area. As recently as this week, one was seen on the Chase Falkland Road near Skimikin Road.
In Salmon Arm, a bobcat was found on Jan. 17 in a coop intended to keep a small flock of ducks warm and safe. Seven of the 10 ducks were killed.
Last month a Silver Creek resident managed to take a video of a bobcat in her family’s Edes Road property, about a kilometre from the Silver Creek school.
Jorden McKnight explains that a deer was hit by a vehicle outside her family’s place. It then jumped down from the road and died behind their house.
“For a week or five days it attracted a ton of wildlife,” she says.
Wildlife on McKnight’s property is not unusual, though; a lot of cougars and bears come through the yard. This was the first time she’d seen a bobcat, however.
Her children had just walked across the yard to visit their grandma. About 10 minutes later her house cat was looking out the window and started growling wildly. McKnight looked out and there was the bobcat.
She says it was a bit bigger than her cat.
According to the BC Adventure Network, bobcats are tawny (greyer in the winter) with black spotting. The tail is short and stubby, hence the bob in bobcat. The face has broken black lines which radiate onto the broad cheek ruff. Average weight is 15 to 35 pounds with the male being larger than the female.
The Adventure Network also states that a bobcat is an excellent climber which often waits in trees to pounce on its prey. That includes rodents, rabbits, squirrels, birds and the occasional deer. Larger prey it has killed is often stashed for later.
McKnight’s family has a large dog, so wildlife like bobcats don’t stick around long.
The area where her family lives is surrounded by farms. She recounts an incident in Silver Creek last fall where a bear swatted at someone in the area who was out walking their dog.
McKnight says she’d like to emphasize the message that wildlife are everywhere and people should always be aware of surroundings. She points to the new walking path in Silver Creek that was well used before the big snow hit.
“Close encounters with wildlife are expected,” she stresses.