Wild creatures among us: Bobcats

Monday, April 20, 2020

Bobcat in Lake Forest Park
By Diane Hettrick
Photos by Phillippa Kassover

I've known for years that there were bobcats in our area. 

One of my neighbors in north central Shoreline had one on her deck after a snowstorm 20 years ago - but it took me years to identify the big cat was that was freaking out her cats as a bobcat.

Another sighting ten years later in Innis Arden - no pictures there either but the resident correctly identified the cat in the tree as a bobcat.

Distinctive and beautiful markings on ears, short white flag tail (striped on the top side),
very big paws, and much bigger than even the biggest house cat

Now, with all the humans inside and jokes about animals partying in the streets - finally a photo of a local bobcat.

Not just a photo, but Phillippa Kassover was able to do an entire photo shoot as a large and calm bobcat browsed her yard in Lake Forest Park.

Spots like a leopard. Muscular body. Long legs.
About twice the size of the biggest housecat.

It can be disorienting to see them. They look like housecats but they are just too big. The musculature is different too. Heavy shoulders, long strong legs. Most people don't get the extended and close up view that Phillippa did.

Fabulous design on the ears and what looks like
a dark stripe along the spine.

In 2015, Aaron Wirsing, Assistant Professor, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) at the University of Washington, told me:

I suspect that your neighbor spied a bobcat (Lynx rufus). Bobcats are closely related to lynx but are able to use a wide variety of habitats, including city suburbs. They typically weigh about 25 pounds and have paws that are about twice the size of those of a domestic cat.

I’ve been informed that there are quite a few bobcats in the greater Seattle area. Congratulations to your neighbor on a neat sighting, and thanks for the inquiry!

Now all I need is a bear.


Unknown April 20, 2020 at 11:45 AM  

How beautiful...thanks for sharing.

Anonymous,  April 21, 2020 at 6:00 PM  

Wonderful! Thank you.

Unknown July 21, 2020 at 8:58 AM  

One was spotted in Shoreline on 7-18-2020 in my neighbors backyard. We are right on the border of Mountlake Terrace and Lake Forest Park.

Kurt Willems September 23, 2020 at 1:39 PM  

I’m 99 percent sure that I saw one across the street from my home in Broadview last year.

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