During our 13 years in Snoqualmie, we’ve seen lots of wildlife. It’s something to be expected as we moved to a subdivision carved out of the woods. Our first Snoqualmie home was more central, pack in tightly between other homes. Our current home is definitely on the outskirts, surrounded by woods and trails.
Needless to say, we’ve seen more wildlife in the past six years. One of the first things we did when the new backyard was finished was completely fence it. One thing we did do differently in this yard was use a cyclone (chain-link) fence on the back property line so that we could see and enjoy the tranquility of the wooded area behind.
This means when you hear noises during the day, you can sometimes see what’s actually making the noise directly behind.
This morning my husband was greeted right behind the black cyclone fence by what he thought was the neighbor’s cat – until he got closer and realized it wasn’t a house cat, but a bobcat, with just the chain-link fence standing between the two of them.
He calmly and quietly said hello and the bobcat retreated off the retaining wall to the slope behind. I then joined in for the curious, calm ‘stare-fest.’ The bobcat even motionlessly stared from 12 feet away while I snapped his/her picture.
After the photography session, I decided to read up more on yet another member of the wildlife family that shares our home site in the woods.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), bobcats are found all throughout the state and are probably more common than most people realize. They “appear to be using suburban settings more often,” but because they are reclusive, we don’t often see them.
Adult male bobcats weigh 20 to 30 pounds and are about three feet long. Females are much smaller and can weigh less than a large house cat. Until the bobcat we spotted this morning got up to walk, it did look like a house cat. Once moving, though, it was obviously not our neighbor’s cat.
WDFW says, “Bobcats can be various shades of buff and brown, with dark brown or black stripes and spots on some parts of the body. The tip of the tail and the backs of the ears are black. They have short ear tufts, and ruffs of hair on the side of the head, giving the appearance of sideburns.”
Bobcats don’t often kill domestic animals, but sometimes will go after pigs, lambs, small goats and house cats. They usually hunt mice, voles, rabbits, gophers, mountain beaver, yellow-bellied marmots, fawns, insects, reptiles, birds, and carrion. Female bobcats usually have litters of about three kittens in April – July in dens found in “caves, rock crevices or hollow logs/trees.”
As the woods behind our home are plentiful with fallen trees and bunnies, my guess is that is what has drawn them to the area.
My son also reported hearing something in the woods twice yesterday, both times saying it sounded like something had gone after something else.
Just another day in suburbia amidst the woods of the Snoqualmie Valley I guess. Oh, and at least it wasn’t a cougar.