A few Sunday mornings ago, we experienced a wild animal encounter at Ridgeside. It was a completely amazing, awesome, shocking, and rare sighting. Josh and I were leaving the house, slowly driving down the driveway. Suddenly an animal came bolting out of the creek, bounded over the driveway in front of us and into the creek on the other side, then ran up the ridge. It was a bobcat! So unbelievable.
We both sat in the car with our mouths open, quiet for a moment, then stammering and yelling in disbelief. I was so overwhelmed I actually started crying. We saw the bobcat’s stubby tail, pointed ears, and impressively solid muscles as it leaped across the driveway, only a few feet from our car. Obviously, the encounter was brief so there was no time for photos, but the image is permanently etched in our minds.
A bobcat’s territory is large and can range between 5-50 miles in diameter, so most likely, this one was passing through after a night of hunting (they feed on small game like rabbits, birds, and fish). Wintergreen Resort has motion-detecting cameras that have captured images of several bobcats, in addition to bear, coyote, fox, and deer. Bobcats are relatively small for a wild cat but large compared to our domestic cats; they weigh 10-25 pounds. These wild cats are very secretive, so we’re lucky to have caught a glimpse of one.
Want to know more about bobcats in Virginia? Here are a couple great sources:
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Bobcat
- Virginia Living Museum: Bobcats Prefer Solitude