Species Profile: Bobcat
In purple light of morn a bobcat crouches at the edge of Eco Pond, watching a young coot. The bird nibbles vegetation and advertises itself by twitching its tail and producing inane honking vocalizations.
A flash of brown fur bursts into the pond. Beads of water scatter and black feathers fill the air. The cat crawls ashore, shakes itself dry, and slips into the forest to enjoy breakfast.
The bobcat, unlike the endangered Florida panther, is common in Everglades National Park. Although primarily nocturnal, this small (15 to 25 pound) short-tailed feline is frequently seen during daylight hours.
Ranging throughout the United States, the bobcat successfully occupies a diversity of habitats. Having no fear of slogging through mangrove forest, an adult may daily cover 5 to 50 miles in search of prey. Although capable of killing deer, this predator mainly seeks out small mammals, birds, fish, and other delectables. It may be seen walking the Bear Lake Trail, the Snake Bight Trail, and the Main Park Road for easier travel. Look for its scat, usually containing fur and bone, on nearby hiking trails.
Did You Know?
On April 21, 1958, Everglades National Park conducted the first prescribed fire for ecological management in both the Park and the National Park Service. This burn pioneered using fire as a resource management tool nationwide.