How to Tame a Wild Bobcat

Everywhere I’ve lived, there have been bobcats living near home. They are common, though not seen all that often. I’ve also written about them before. Bobcats are totally gorgeous felines. Their fur is usually tawny to grayish in color, with spots or elongated markings, and in the wild, this cat often grows double the size of a very large house cat. It should never be forgotten that they are wild animals. However, there are ways to tame bobcats. Bobcat age One of the top considerations is how old the bobcat is. Even young ones that are only a month and a half old are likely to scratch and hiss at first and their claws and teeth are quite sharp. The older they become, the harder it becomes to tame them. Even older animals can be tamed, though, with enough patience. Bobcats require the same basic things that any feline would need. Physically, those needs are something to eat and drink, and shelter. It goes well beyond that, naturally. Like most other kittens, as they grow, they need attention and love. There are many people who believe that love is a human emotion and that we are simply imagining its importance for animals. They obviously haven’t observed cats very closely if they believe this. Mother cats, bobcats included, lavish attention on the young. The attention and love is almost constant as long as the kitten is growing up. Love and attention is a key for taming bobcats of any age. The Continue Reading →

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The Often-Elusive Ring Tailed Cat

This is another case where the common name of an animal is quite inaccurate. Ring tailed cats aren’t felines. This can be seen from the scientific name: Bassariscus astutus. However, they are common in many states in the United States, particularly in the west, and they are interesting little creatures. Ring Tailed Cat Range Ring tails have been sighted in Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and even in Mexico. They have also been seen in Ohio. Part of the reason they are widespread could be that these animals seem to be just about as comfortable in conifer and scrub forests as they are in canyons, desert locations, rocky areas, and even along rivers, lake shores, streams and in marshy areas. They also live from lowlands to nearly the tree line in mountainous areas like the Cascade Mountains. Ring tailed cats in general These creatures have also been called cacomistles, to which they are closely related, although they aren’t cacomistles. True cacomistles belong to the same genus, Bassariscus, though. The genus name means ‘cunning little fox’, even though it also isn’t a member of the vulpine or fox family. They are actually members of the raccoon, or Procyonidae, family. Since the mid 1980s, this species has also been the state mammal of the state of Arizona. Appearance and description of ring tailed cats In appearance, these are slender animals and somewhat shaped like a cat. Their coloration is similar to that of a Continue Reading →

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The Strange Creature Called the Giant Anteater

There are curious animals in this world and there are some that are just plain strange. The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is one that is both curious and strange. Giant anteater range This animal, sometimes called the ant bear, is actually related to the sloths rather than to bears and it is one of only four species of anteaters alive today. It is a critter that is native to Mexico, Central and South America. Giant anteater description Giant anteaters are strange-looking beasts, with stout bodies, powerfully clawed feet and very long snouts. It is easily the largest anteater. The males have been weighed in excess of 90 pouns and the females aren’t much smaller. They are also lengthy and some specimens have measured longer than seven feet. The head of a giant anteater can be a foot long, most of that being taken up by the mouth apparatus, though it has a small mouth opening. The tail is about the length of the head and the neck is thick and muscular. These aren’t particularly long-lived creatures, either, and seldom live longer than 15 years. One curiosity is that giant anteaters have a body temperature that is between 5-10 degrees F cooler than most mammals. The average body temperature is 91 F (~33 C). Interestingly, while the genus name, Myrmecophaga, is accurate, the specific name, tridactyla, is not. Myrmecophaga means ‘anteater’, which the creature is. The word tridactyla means ‘three digits’ or three toes. Giant anteaters actually have five toes on all Continue Reading →

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An Unusual Wild Animal of Asia

There are animals that Asians have probably never seen because they are native to North and South America. There are almost as many animals that Americans haven’t seen, and often haven’t heard of, because they are native to Asia or Europe. One such Asian native is a curious animal called the Binturong (Arctictis binturong). This animal is native to India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and other countries in southeast Asia. In fact, the common name, Binturong, is Malaysian. It has other names in other languages, such as tenturun in Indonesia. A common name in English is Bearcat, though it is neither a bear nor a cat. Actually, these animals are members of the civet family or Viverridae. Though it is sometimes called the bearcat, the genus name actually means ‘bear-weasel’ and the binturong is the only species in the genus. Binturong description These animals are heavily built, somewhat less than three feet long, not counting the two foot tail. The legs are also strong, though not very long. The weight is usually about 50 pounds, though they can grow to almost 75 pounds on occasion. The females usually weigh more than the males. This is the largest of the civet family, with African civets being a close second. They have a short, pointed snout and are covered with dense, dark-brown to black hair. The face is usually speckled, the whiskers are long and the ears are short and rounded, rather like those of a raccoon. The Continue Reading →

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The Breeding and Birthing of Babies of American Porcupines

Even people who’ve never seen them think that the method of defense, namely the thousands of sharp quills that it has, is rather formidable. However, it is for exactly the same reason that many people are left wondering how porcupines breed and have babies, considering the huge array of many thousands of prickly points. Having written about this animal, it is fitting to write about how they breed and have young. Porcupine quills The porcupine’s quills are actually modified hairs. They are hollow, extremely sharp and have small barbs at the tip that makes them difficult to remove once they’ve penetrated skin and hide. They also come off of the porcupine easily. Quills lean toward the rear of the animal, so even though the creature can usually flatten them somewhat against their bodies, any animal approaching from the rear, including a male porcupine approaching a female, stands a good chance of getting stuck. Female porcupine’s decision With porcupines, the female is the one who decides on who her breeding partner will be. She must accept the male or all bets are off. The way she makes the selection is rather unusual. If she is at all interested, which in itself is a long shot as she is only receptive for about one day out of the year, the male urinates on or around her. This releases his pheromones. When this happens, if she doesn’t like the smell of the pheromones, the male is unsuccessful and the female will go on Continue Reading →

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