It was a dark and stormy night….
Well, it wasn’t stormy, and the moon was bright, but it ended up scary nonetheless! Cookie came outside with me when I stepped out on the deck to check on the temperature in the greenhouse, and she shot off the deck, hysterically barking! Something was out there! Thelma in the sheep pasture raced the fence, barking furiously. I got nervous about Cookie and called her back into the house, and she came flying, her hackles up. (Thank goodness for all our training with her to have her come when called!)
I peered into the night and then this sound ripped through the air! It was coming from the shadowed edge of the forest where it borders the back yard!
And just like THAT I was frozen in place by some forgotten primal instinct of all prey animals. I listened and THERE it was again! I got my feet moving, headed for the back door, and quietly but urgently told Farmer Bob to come hear this terrifying sound. He was on the couch dozing and he moved more slowly than I wanted, but he finally stepped out on the deck and, of course, the night was silent. Ugh!
And then, from a bit further back in the woods came the growl again, and Farmer Bob growled back! Hahahaha! He said it was a bobcat, and IT ANSWERED HIM! They growled back and forth at each other several times, the bobcat moving farther away each time, until it didn’t answer anymore.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about bobcats, and here is a picture from pixabay. This sounded like a BIG cat, and I have seen a really big one that had been killed on the road. They are not cute little house cats, most certainly!
I’ve heard bobcats screaming in the night my whole life. This is what they sound like when they scream. I’ve NEVER heard a bobcat growl like that one did last night. I’m okay not hearing that again anytime soon, but I am glad that we still have them in our area, in spite of the predation danger to our farm animals.
I have suspected that the increased coyote population had rendered the local bobcat population extinct because I haven’t heard one screaming in quite a number of years since the coyotes came. Farmer Bob saw a red fox stroll across the front yard a couple weeks ago. Maybe the return of native predators means that the coyotes are hunting elsewhere, or perhaps our local hunters are becoming successful in keeping the population down.
And then, there’s always the black Carolina panther of lore here in our area of the South. The SCDNR continues to poo-poo sightings of the big black panthers, but just ask our son if they’re real. (THAT’s a story for another day.)
It’s wonderful that there are still mysteries in the deep, dark forest on a moonlit night.