[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 18
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [video]

Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Jan 31, 2016

DianneErskineHellrigelWhen I was a kid, I had a bobcat as a pet. I had a lot of exotic animals because I lived near a state park, and it seemed that whenever animals were injured or orphaned, I’d end up with them.

So even as a kid, I was rehabbing critters. Most of them could not be returned to the wild; those that could be, healed and were returned to the hills near my house. But the majority stayed at my house and enjoyed a great life, some being hand-fed.

It is illegal now to keep a bobcat, so don’t go looking to bring one into your home.

Bobcats are about twice the size of a large housecat. Boracho, my bobcat, weighed an exceptional 45 pounds as an adult. He came to me at 5 weeks old, malnourished and full of fleas, which gave him infectious anemia. Luckily, I had a great vet who was used to my family bringing wild critters to his office. Infectious anemia required transfusions as well as getting rid of the nasty fleas he had.

bobcats06No one knew what happened to his mother or siblings, but Boracho was lucky to have landed in my lap. The vet blood-typed my 19 house cats and ended up with a match for the very sick Boracho. After months of treatment, he came home and lived with us for 16 years. The normal lifespan for a bobcat is between 7 and 10 years in the wild.

The University of California at Hayward heard about this miracle kitty and didn’t believe it was a bobcat. So they came out to my home in Danville and studied him. They were surprised to find a tame, loving, brilliant Lynx rufus under our roof. So, Boracho became famous – at least in Northern California.

The name “bobcat” comes from the fact that these cats have bobbed or short tails. Bobcat tails are generally 5 to 6 inches long. Bobcats have a beautiful spotted coat, blue eyes when they are born that become yellowish-green as adults, and weigh from 15 to 35 pounds on average. Boracho was bigger than that due to his country-club lifestyle.

bobcats05Bobcats can be found throughout the United States and into Mexico. Different subspecies can be found in Canada and in Europe. In fact, there are 12 recognizable subspecies.

Bobcats are highly adaptable to urbanization and can be found in our local parks, and sometimes at night or early morning you might see them in your neighborhood. They will be out prowling around for cat or dog food that you’ve left outside for the night, or a juicy little pet you’ve left out in the cold. (Note to self: Bring in pets at night.)

Although it has not been documented that bobcats prey on small dogs or cats, other local predators definitely do, so protect your animals and bring them in.

If you’re a hiker, trail runner or mountain biker, you have probably seen bobcats in Santa Clarita’s open-space areas. When you are out hiking, keep an eye out for evidence of bobcats. Things you might notice are deposits of urine and feces to mark their territory, or claw markings. Of course, you can also find bobcat tracks, especially after a rain or in the snow.

Open-space areas and forests are the best place for bobcats to find their prey. Prey animals include woodrats, squirrels, rabbits, voles, gophers, birds and other small animals. Bobcats prefer small mammals but will also eat birds and sometimes lizards.

bobcats02Bobcats that live near urban areas have been known to attack smaller ungulates such as goats and sheep. Adult cattle and horses are just too big for them, but it is possible they might attack their young. Rarely, bobcats have been known to kill deer. In areas where none of these prey animals lives, bobcats will search out other creatures to feed upon such as fox, mink, skunks and fishers.

Bobcats are generally nocturnal. They sleep during the day and do their best to avoid contact with humans. They are solitary and very territorial. The home range for males is 3 to 4 square miles, and for females it is 1½ to 2 square miles. Home ranges can vary due to population, available food sources and mates. A female bobcat usually produces 2 to 4 young per liter.

A lot of people have told me they are terrified of bobcats. In general, bobcats will not attack people. They will shy away and would rather leave the area than confront a human. The last thing they want is human interaction. However, if you corner a bobcat or pose a risk to their young, all bets are off.

And they are great fighters. Boracho shredded a neighbor’s oversized dog when it tried to break into Boracho’s cage. Boracho defended his territory. If you see a bobcat and want to scare it away, make loud noises or spray him with your garden hose. Bobcats hate noise and water.

bobcats04The biggest current threat to bobcats, other than being hunted by predators such as coyotes and mountain lions, are poisons such as rodenticides. People use rodenticides in their yards and hills or open space near their property in an effort to keep rats, gophers and other rodents away from their yard. The result is that these rodents eat the poison, and the bobcats and other local predators eat the rodents, and all of them are poisoned.

Please consider using traps for rodents instead of a rodenticide. Keep in mind that one of the best killers of rodents are bobcats. Other leading causes of death for bobcats include disease, other predators, hunters, starvation and automobiles.

Bobcats evolved from the Eurasian lynx, which crossed into North America via the Bering Land Bridge. So they have been here approximately 2.6 million years. These cats evolved into the bobcat we know here. They were blocked from the north by glaciers. The Canadian lynx actually evolved from the Asian lynx.

bobcats03In years past, bobcats were prized for their beautiful spotted fur and were nearly decimated. International laws began to protect the bobcat in the 1970s. The population revived, and it is now stabilized in most states. Hunters, when they can, still hunt the bobcat. Farmers defend their flocks of sheep, chickens and geese from predatory bobcats, as well.

On the other side of the coin, birds of prey – owls, eagles, hawks – as well as wolves, coyotes, dogs and mountain lions prey on bobcats. It’s a tough world out there in the forests and grasslands.

If you see a bobcat, don’t approach him and don’t interfere with his activities unless you wish to remove him from your property. Noise and water will take care of him if he is a nuisance.

If you see a bobcat in open space, enjoy his grace and beauty, and take a photo if you have your camera handy. There’s no need to be afraid.

Most of all, realize that this sighting is a reward, and you are the lucky recipient.


Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.




Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Soliz says:

    Gracias por este articulo educativo atacante Los Gatos Salvajes. Sin duda, son muy hermosos.
    También deseo compartir con ustd.que me da mucha pena que ustd. tiene que publica sus artículos tan buenos por medio de este Blog ya que también publican los artículos homophobicos, sexistas y racistas de un Joe Messina.. Gracias por la oportunidad de desearle mucho éxito.
    Jim Soliz

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Monday, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [video]
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is holding a Business After Hours Mixer at Valencia Acura, Wednesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Chamber’s Business After Hours Mixer
Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing a motion to place a measure on the November ballot which seeks to increase property taxes on residential and commercial properties to generate approximately $300 million a year to fund additional stormwater projects.
Barger Lone Vote on Proposed Stormwater Tax
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.
Supes Move Forward with Efforts to Improve Local Water Supply, Quality
The county of Los Angeles and community partners are working hand-in-hand to combat homelessness, which has decreased for the first time in four years.
County Combines New, Existing Programs to Combat Homelessness
Officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner have identified the body of a man who was found in a Canyon Country field Monday night.
Man Found Dead in Canyon Country
Single Mother's Outreach is currently accepting honoree nominations and artist applications through July 30.
Single Mother’s Outreach Accepting Nominees, Artist Applications
The Stay Green Inc. team has been rewarded for its excellence with eight awards — including four prestigious first-place honors — in the 59th Annual Landscape Beautification Awards presented by the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA).
Stay Green Earns Four First-Place Landscape Honors
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for July 18-20:
July 18-20: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
The city of Santa Clarita saw an increase in on-location filming in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (July 2017 to June 2018), with the Film Office recording 560 film permits and 1377 film days, which generated an estimated $33.1 million in economic impact to the local community.
Santa Clarita Sees Increase in On-Location Filming for 5th Straight Year
Six Santa Clarita Artists Association members were accepted in the impressive La Galeria Gitana exhibit, "Around the World in 80 Paintings."
Aug. 11: Artists Association Presents, ‘Around the World in 80 Paintings’
LOS ANGELES – A former staffer for a member of the United States Congress was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for bribery and attempted extortion after demanding and accepting $5,000 to prevent the closure of a marijuana shop in the city of Compton.
Santa Clarita Man Gets 18 Months in Prison for Bribery, Attempted Extortion
1834 - Sinforosa, daughter of Narciso and Crisanta, born at Mission San Fernando; mom from Tejon, dad from Piru; believed to be last speaker of Tataviam language (died 1915) [record]
Berry Petroleum Corp., owner of the Placerita oil field west of Sierra Highway between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita - and many other oil properties in the San Joaquin Valley - announced Monday that it has launched an initial public offering of its common stock.
Placerita Oil Field Owner Going Public Again
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting health care professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient Valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
Blood Pressure Medicine Valsartan Recalled for Cancer-Causing Impurity
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, July 18 at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 91350.
July 18: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee, a division of the Santa Clarita City Council, will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, July 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 18: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
Since April, TMU grad Zach Klindworth has worked and trained with a soccer team in Iceland, 4,000 miles from Santa Clarita, the only city he'd ever known.
TMU Soccer Alum Zach Klindworth Takes Talents to Iceland
The Lancaster JetHawks scored a run in the seventh inning to take the lead and hung on to beat Lake Elsinore, 3-2, Sunday evening at The Hangar.
JetHawks Hang on for Sunday Win Over Storm
Lake Elsinore proved too much for the JetHawks Saturday night, handing Lancaster an 11-4 loss at The Hangar.
Lancaster JetHawks Overcome by Storm Saturday
The Lancaster JetHawks opened up a four-game series with a 6-2 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm in front of 4,348 at The Hangar Friday night to kick off Star Wars Weekend.
The Force With JetHawks in Friday Win Over Storm
Saxtravaganza, Santa Clarita's all-saxophone chamber ensemble, will play a free concert at Hart Hall (inside Hart Park) on Thursday, July 19, starting at 7 p.m.
July 19: Saxtravaganza Chamber Ensemble Returns to Hart Hall
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will participate in the semi-annual Pinewood Derby at the Newhall Clubhouse on Wednesday, July 18 starting at 4:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Boys & Girls Club Pinewood Derby
The city of Santa Clarita's Community Preservation Division sent a notice of violation Monday to the owners of the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates property in Canyon Country, ordering the removal of multiple solar panels installed on the hillside just north of the park.
Canyon Country Mobile Home Park Cited for Hillside Solar Panels
Ingrid Moon, a sixth-grade science facilitator at tuition-free public charter school iLEAD Encino, and Kimberli Lengning, a facilitator at iLEAD Lancaster, have been named Distinguished STEM Educators by Columbia University.
iLEAD Science Facilitators Named Distinguished STEM Educators
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of July 16-22, 2018.
‘Mayans,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ Spots, Student Films Now Shooting in SCV
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.
First West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found – Panorama City
Air quality is very unhealthy for all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley Monday, according to an alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD: Air Quality Very Unhealthy Monday for SCV Residents
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man with an outstanding warrant who was allegedly also in possession of drugs in Stevenson Ranch early Saturday morning.
Golden Valley High School grad U.S. Air Force Airman Victoria A. Arguello has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Clarita USAF Airman Victoria Arguello Completes Basic Training
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
July 14-15: CTG Stars Teen Workshop Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical Jr.’
The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19: Open House, Summer Fun Event for Kids at Hart Museum