By Rick de Yampert
So, I’m on my screened back porch this morning at the southeastern edge of Seminole Woods, talking by phone to my girlfriend, and then out of the corner of my eye I see this guy. I named him Bob, which is “Bob” spelled backwards.
This is the first bobcat I’ve seen during my 31 years in Florida. At my hermitage beside the wilderness in Palm Coast, there are wild woods to the south and flatwoods to the east and southeast. Bob sat at the east edge of my backyard for a full 20 minutes.
It’s difficult to gauge his size by these photos. In the close-ups he appears larger than to the naked eye, while the distant shot makes him appear much smaller than he actually is. He’s about the size of a medium-to-large dog — a bit smaller than a German shepherd.
Every once in a while he seemed to notice the click of my camera as I took pix from the open window of my dining nook. A few other times he alerted on some sound or movement. But mostly he just chilled — for 20 minutes! Then he turned and walked eastward into the patch of forest that gives way to the more open, prairie-like landscape of the flatwoods.
As Elena Jarvis and my Audubon guide to Florida wildlife note, bobcats are nocturnal, so it’s unusual to see one out in the open during the day.
I’m going to put out a saucer of milk and some Meow Mix or tuna, and if Bob comes back I will scratch him behind the ears. (Kidding . . .)
After posting this account on Facebook some responses said that Bob looks like a lynx. I thought so too, but my Florida Audubon book has an entry only for a bobcat — but its scientific name is “Lynx rufus.” Others said this looks like a female. I thought that too — it appears to my human mind to have what I would call a “feminine” beauty. But then I realized that may be me anthropomorphizing its appearance, and my Audubon book notes no differing physical traits between male and female bobcats. Still, yes it may be a female — I don’t really know.
And to my friend Becky Magnolia who posed the question, “What was its message?”
Ah Becky, you know my Pagan heart! I’ve been pondering that, and I left out of my original post that it has been a very active day for the crows at my hermitage beside the woods. They’ve been cawing like crazy since just after sunrise, and I’m seeing and hearing more than the usual three who visit my backyard. They may be alerting on the red-shouldered hawk I heard earlier, or Bob himself — the Audubon guide says bobcats “stalk and ambush small mammals and birds at night.”
I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s something. Yet Bob was just chillin’ like a Zen master. And, as Becky spurred me to ponder: This is likely the longest encounter I’ve ever had with a wild animal. Hmmmm. So that’s his message to me: Just chill, and life will unfold. Bob reminded me of a quote from poet Rainer Maria Rilke that came up on my daily Zen calendar last week: “Let life happen to you. Believe me, life is in the right, always.”
Rick de Yampert is FlaglerLive’s culture writer. He initially wrote this piece on his Facebook page. Reach him by email here.
Great Pics and I hope the bobcat is able to live a long, full life!
I have the same wish. Thanks for your kind words.
Bobcats have been around in the “R” section for several years. See them often with “babies”.Robert
John doe says
Yes they are in the R section. Moved in last year. Seen 3 of them on my cam footage.
B. Howell says
About two years ago I saw two. One chasing the other. Running. One after the other. Sunset. Maybe Bob and Bobette. Moving too fast to get a photo. They took my breath away. Magnificent. Please don’t feed them. You might send your photos off to Fish and Wildlife. Thanks for sharing.
Indeed, no feeding from me. And yes perhaps the wildlife folks may be interested. Thanks for reading.
Had a Radio collared Bob in our neighborhood. It was fun to watch the Kits every year All my sightings were daylight but some Dusk and Dawn. The rabbit population was diminished Annually. Enjoy the View
Steve, now that you mention it, I noticed recently that I see less wild rabbits in my yard than I did the previous two months. Hmmmm.
Dennis C Rathsam says
I see them now too, every now & then we see a bobcat, bear, jaguars, and plenty of deer. They run through our land around the Matanzas lake like crazy. More & more of their hiding spots are now houses. Palm Coast greed, & the need to kill every wooded area in this city is pitifull. Stop this now. We can co-exist with our natural habitat, only if they to have a place to live too!!!!!
I’m sure your property was developed from the time of the earliest settlers so your house is okay just not the rest of them. SMDH
Dennis I totally agree with you we see more of them as they are loosing their habitat woods to development. Shame that we could have saved for $300,000 meager dollars the 279 acres comprised of the Matanzas Golf course for green acres park and trails to be shared with bob cats and other wildlife. But nope Netts and co. didn’t want to buy then like little Flagler Beach did. Now the developer that bought it for 700, 000 is now selling a partial parcel of it only, for 7,900,000. That is like you say greed destroying our wildlife habitats , deteriorating the homes value of those residents that bought around the golf course at higher prices and affecting our quality of life with the increase of traffic and services needed for the incoming multifamily to be built on it. Then we will have to learn to share our properties and live with wildlife around us other than scream, racoon , bob cat, bear, panther, deer, pigs threatening me, my pets or yards landscape please come trap, take them away or shoot them! So unfair and environmentally fatal to decimate species. Meanwhile lets enjoy the wondrous view. Thank you Rick.
JOSEPH HEMPFLING says
Rick, count your blessings as I too while living in palm coast came across a similar bobcat, even in size, color and markings, only dead !
As it apparently had been most recently hit by a car and managed to drag itself up on a walking path along palm coast parkway. I came across what I characterize this majestic animal while bicycling and it was not obvious from the parkway where it had been hit not much before.
And most surprisingly it was for the most part intact, laying on its side and undisturbed as if asleep.
I like you was taken back by its natural beauty, even holding one of its powerful outstretched paws in my hands, while studying the absolute beauty of its colorfully striped underbelly. In short, it was magnificent and to be alone, as I was with it,I found to be profound as cars unknowingly continued to pass us by. And in some ways it changed me, as I got to sit with this truly beautiful animal and wish it goodbye with an impromptu hastilyt composed prayer hoping it had a quick death and that we would meet again, somehow at a different place and in a different time. My connection with it was simply that heart-stopping and what I consider a profound moment I will always remember as I am sure you, yours.
These then are my thoughts brought back to me upon seeing your photos and how blessed you must feel having this majestic animal show him or herself to you in all its glory.
I did call animal control and was told they would take care of the situation but the animal was still there the next day and gone on the third. So I did luckily get to make another visit to
Say goodbye a second time. Again a blessing for me.
And if you have additional photos I would like very much to see them if you are willing to share.
‘and thank you. Joe
Joseph, thanks for sharing your profound encounter. Yes, I consider myself blessed to have encountered this very alive creature. My additional photos are all variations on a theme, so to speak — all of the the most interesting ones are here.
Monika Karlik says
Beautiful, they are such magnificent creatures, how truly blessed you were.
How incredibly sad it’s life ended like that
ce;lia pugliese says
I feel the same sadness that you feel over that gorgeous animal killed by traffic, speeders in a rush ignoring their surroundings. Maybe in school there should be a class to tech kids about our wonderful wildlife affected by growth and how to respect and protect them to preserve especies. Compassion starts at home and at a young age. Thanks to Rick and Joe.
Kitty Kat says
Maybe some more strays cats can procreate with them and get rid of all lefty clown rats in town.
And what flaw is it in your character that forces you to turn the sighting of a majestic animal into a political statement. Some people’s kids . . .
maybe you meant the right dunces
Just make sure it’s not around if you have pets or children, shouldn’t be a disruption. A neighbor has rats in their shed. Wouldn’t mind the Bobcat coming around to take care of that problem.
have seen one for years in the P section
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photo’s. It is such a pleasure seeing wildlife after how much humans have destroyed their homes with building and cutting down tree’s.
I see them all the time it’s no big deal. Is this news now?
E.B. White writing about grass growing on his Maine farm wasn’t news either, but it was worth the read every time.
Beautiful cat! How lucky to have had him/her that close. I lived on Smith Trail for 20 years. My son told me many times of seeing bobcats on his way to the bus stop early in the morning (when it was still dark). So thankful he was never attacked.
C’mon man! says
They are beautiful indeed but make no mistake they are wild creatures wired for survival. I don’t bother them when I do my late evening dog walk, however I will protect myself and my pets if a violent encounter is inevitable.
How lucky for you, we live in Pine Lakes, had several when we first moved here but not many anymore, everything is built up, have seen them on the bike path in early morning. Couple of years ago I was sitting on the porch reading, something caught my eye, it was a Florida Panther walking through the yard, of course I didn’t have my camera and when I came with it, foot prints showed where it gone, but it was gone. Most of my neighbors thought I was nuts, but a white vinyl fence was being installed behind us, rain had made the ground muddy and kitty walked across the fence panels that were laying on the ground so took several photos of very large kitty paw prints, several days later saw one walking across Wynnfield, could have been same one but haven’t been so lucky since.
We had a black panther beach side back in 2013. Kids saw it from backyard, I saw it out my bedroom window. Next day tracks all over the backyard. I’ve read they can roam up to 350 miles in a day.
The area of and around Palm Coast has been undergoing “urbanization” and wild life is disappearing. You might be lucky if you go west of
In one tiny place, between Pine Lakes Parkway and White View, heavy equipment is tearing the ground open and removing anything green.
The story is happening many other places to make room for us civilized creatures to live!
Yes, I’ve seen the huge cleared area, more housing for people and less for wildlife, makes me sad, use to see deer sometimes with their fawns, only one I’ve seen lately was over by Mother Seaton think she’d been by a vehicle but passed, called the City, said they were aware and would come for it, it was 2 days later.
Sherri Smith says
I would like to know what the answer to this issue would be, seriously. People need somewhere to live, as do the wildlife. What to do?
One thing that would help, I think, for people to buy existing homes instead of building new ones. When I moved to Palm Coast 20 yrs ago I wanted a “new” house. But I thought that I was only contributing to the loss of open space so I bought one of the first homes in Palm Coast. A few years ago, there were so many vacant homes in PC, people were squatting in them. City Council needs to make sure that certain areas are never developed.
We need to protect these creatures. Have places set apart for nature in our beautiful town
Well with the over abundance of forests and land being wiped out to build houses, apartments and shopping areas, our once native animals will soon be wiped out, either killed by cars, or die off due to the lack of food. Thank you Over Development where greed takes center stage and nature takes a backseat.
Jamie Lee j says
I spotted a rather young one three nights ago about 10:15 p.m. on Coral Reef Court N. Crossing the street. Maybe 20 pounds. I agree, we are tearing up their habitat. Coral Reef is building on nearly every vacant lot now. The snakes are invading my lot: cotton mouth, corn snakes (which are rather pretty in markings) and the black racers that occasionally find their way into my house or garage.
Beautifully chronicles,Rick. Many years ago, I was the 4th house on my block and I’d be up at 5:39 for my quiet 1/2 hour before my son and I had t get ready for work and school. I would sit in my living room looking out the sliding door and one mornings beautiful bobcat walked across my open patio slab. He stopped. He was staring thought the glass at me or at his reflection in the glass. Either way,it gave me a chance to see how beautiful he was.
I waited until he moved for me to get up and see where he was headed. He walked on padded feet around my house to the front. I figured he would duck into the woods that were all around, but no, he walked along the edge of the paved road onto the intersecting block. I just thought that was strange but he had adapted to us being here.
I wish the city would buy up some lots to keep some green in our neighborhoods.
My section of the “P’s” has been discovered lately and being overbuilt.
We used to see deer almost every day. No bobcats in a long time. Thank goodness there’s still birds.
[email protected] says
Friends in the R section where only one side of the street had houses,had bobcats sunning themselves in the middle of the day!!
I am originally from Arkansas, and have seen many bobcats in my while growingup. When I first relocated to Palm Coast, I was welcomed by one of the most beautiful, vibrant colored Bobcats I’ve ever seen!! Driving south on Old Kings Road one late evening, a bobcat leaped out of the woods, and with one of the most incredible leaps I’ve ever seen. The second leap propelled him across the hood of my car. And touching ground right next to the passenger side of my car, he quickly made one last leap into the woods on the west side. WOW!!! It was truly Amazing!!
I can imagine your exhilarating seeing the bobcat at your property, they are quite amazing to see.😄
Lisa Crawford says
Hi neighbor Rick!
Great photos and article! Wow, we were just viewing a beautiful bald eagle perched in the preserve a month ago! Now a wild cat! We are so fortunate to have wildlife amongst us despite the rapid construction ongoing. After several years of enjoying seeing the deer, they have become a rare sight on Squdron Pl. The racoons still visit and enjoy the bird feeders though! Hopefully the area wildlife will migrate to the preserve area and continue life in the wild! Keep up the great work! Please let us know when you see a bear, still want to capture a picture of one in the semi-wild!
Hi Lisa, Todd! Glad you saw the article — I was intending to tell you about my encounter the next time I saw either of you out and about. A raccoon came to my backyard today in mid-afternoon — poked around for about five minutes then returned to the woods. I’ve seen plenty of rabbits this spring-summer, but Bob may change that!
Beautiful cat! She’s either well fed or pregnant. Thanks for sharing the pictures.