Updated: Mar 1
Bobcats are infrequently seen in the wild, but they are all around us. Users of Rose Canyon in San Diego occasionally see them, but views may be fleeting. The cats are mostly nocturnal, but can be seen in daylight with some luck. Evidence of bobcat presence is readily available to those who know what to look for. Tracks, scats, and scrapes are 3 good ways to verify the presence of bobcats. I recently retrieved footage from a trail camera in Rose Canyon, in an area where I had seen all three lines of evidence. Selection of this camera site was based on that evidence, combined with hope! I was generously rewarded for my time crawling around the sage scrub. In a 30-day period, the same bobcat graced my camera on 4 separate occasions. Identification of individual cats is possible by recognizing unique patterns of stripes on their legs and flanks. Scientists use this form of 'photo-identification' to estimate population sizes of dolphins, giraffes, whales, manta rays and many other species. In the video below, this bobcat is seen scraping after urinating and then as it exits the area, it rubs its left cheek on a branch in an action known as 'scent-marking'. This is a form of communication to other bobcats, which could mean "This is my territory." or "I am available for romance!"
Here is a classic bobcat scat and scrape from Rose Canyon. The scrapes, as shown in the video, are performed with their hind feet. Two parallel scrapes can be seen, where the head of the animal was to the right and the pooping end to the left.
Another scrape in the same area. The bobcat was facing left, as evidenced by the debris piled up near the 13-inch mark of the ruler.
Some lovely bobcat tracks from Rose Canyon, where a cat stopped at the lip of a now-dried puddle to drink. The two front tracks are seen side-by-side where the animal paused.
Close-up of a front-left track of a bobcat also shown in the above photo.
Some more night time activity from the same bobcat in the 1st video.