A glimps into the world of wildlife rehabilitation…the world through a rehabber's eyes.

Posts tagged “bobcat

Ulyses Thanks You!


Thank you to all of our wonderful supporters who contributed to our critical needs baby! Your support was overwhelming, and wonderful!!! We have almost reached our funding goal for this little one! Of course, our goal will only cover part of his medical care, so any and all help is graciously welcome! Thank you to all of our amazing, wonderful, incredible readers and supporters for everything you do to help us return these wild babies back to their world! Ulyses may get to taste freedom yet, and it is all thanks to our unbelievably amazing supporters! You guys are the BEST supporters any non-profit could ever ask for! THANK YOU! You, and you alone make what we do here at WCCR possible!

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Our urgent care case: Ulyses


The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch has received a very special guest that urgently needs your help. His name is Ulyses, and he is only ten weeks old. He has been separated from his mother and siblings, and the poor little guy has suffered some serious trauma in his short life.

Ulyses is a bobcat, and he already has a special place in the hearts of all of the staff members here at WCCR. You see, at this tender age, he has had a little altercation with a dog…that resulted in a compound fracture of his leg, and massive infection. This poor little wild one is terrified and alone, and he can’t even yet have a buddy to comfort him. For now, until his condition improves a bit, his stuffed animal is his closest companion.

The thought of this poor little guy terrified and hurting tugs at my heartstrings every time. Especially when all we can do is sit back, and support him on his journey 😦

Little Ulyses upon intake

Here at Crosstimbers, we do 90% of our medical treatment on site.

There are many reasons for this that I may go into in some future blog, but for right now, my main focus is to help this little one return to the wild. But in order to do that, I am going to have to solicit some help! To rehab a single (healthy) bobcat from kitten to release, costs more than $2,000 and over 12 months in feeding and maintenance alone. Any medical treatment or other operational care all comes at additional expense.

For Ulyses, the cost will probably be more than double that figure.

Our bestest heart bandages ❤

His tiny leg will be set in his heart emblazoned cast for at least the next six weeks, and he will need some heavy-duty antibiotics (as well as other medications) to battle the massive infection.

Supportive care will also include a special immune system supporting diet and eventually, physical therapy.

Little Ulyses had to be sedated for this procedure, so once his cast was secured, he was placed in isolation to recover from anaesthesia.

His ongoing care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy are going to be major hurdles for WCCR this year. The economy has put a squeeze on us all, and we are definitely feeling it. We are trying to raise $500 towards his ongoing care, and every cent helps.

If every person who read this blog donated just ten dollars, that total sum would mean a massive step towards going back to the wild for this amazing cat! Every bit helps! If you want to be a wildlife hero, click on that donate button on the right hand column! I know we can do this. Lets get Ulyses back to the wild, together!


Theo’s New Digs <3


As you may or may not know, Theo, our little starlet, has always had a difficult time living outside. Well, to be honest, Theo has always had a hard time! He has had so many close calls and near misses in his short life thus far, that it should come as no surprise that our little guy with such a delicate constitution would have a hard time adjusting to life outdoors.

At a certain age, it just isn’t very feasible to keep a bobcat inside. For our wildlife center, we keep our baby bobs indoors till a certain age. Just as a mother bobcat would keep her kits in their den, we keep them inside the nursery. Bobkits are quite sensitive, and need close supervision to monitor health and well-being. After they pass that certain delicate age, and they begin to grow more adventurous and rambunctious, they begin their slow transition to outdoor living, usually in preparation to becoming wild again.

Theo really is no exception, other than he would never survive release. Alas, our attempts to transition him to outdoor living were exceedingly stressful to his delicate constitution, so, he was moved back indoors for his health and safety. The one problem with this scenario is that Theo is now an energetic young bobcat, and Crosstimber’s indoor enclosures are not really suitable for longterm residency…mostly, it is our nursery, and our ICU area for our invalid residents. Neither one suits Theo any longer.

So, our director came up with the idea to create an indoor/outdoor enclosure for Theo. This would give ranch staff the ability to keep a close eye on Theo, and also provide him with the space he needs. One of our awesome staff members designed and built a wonderful enclosure for Theo.

Of course, he had a little help

And of course, in true Crosstimbers Wildlife fashion, the entire thing was built out of reclaimed lumber.

It was specially selected and designed for Theo’s comfort, and has a great view overlooking the turtle garden!

Once it was complete, it was painted a lovely shade of green, and Theo was out exploring it in no time!

That is the face of one happy bobcat!

The best part is, that great window in his enclosure serves as a causeway for him to come and go into the temperature controlled building! Soon it will have a more permanent door 🙂


Bobcat meets house cat <3


Hey guys, check out this way cool video of a bobcat meeting with a house cat through the sliding glass door ❤ Not the reaction most people have in their minds when they think of house pets and predators, but very typical behavior of this beautiful feline 🙂

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7406326n


There’s a bobcat on my patio/in my yard! How do I get rid of it?!


Okay guys, fair warning, this is gonna be a long one!

I get asked this question on a regular basis. My response is always the same. I ask the concerned party why they want this animal removed from it’s home. They cite numerous fears for their reasoning. “Won’t it attack my pets? Won’t it attack my children/grand children?” The answer is no. No, a bobcat is not a blood thirsty monster waiting to pounce on the first human it sees. No, it does not want to work hard enough to try to catch your dog/cat.

Of course, common sense in good measures is always reasonable when dealing with any wildlife. Cats and dogs should always be supervised outside. Just remember, the house you chose to live in because of it’s beautiful trees, manicured grass, and great lot size (not to mention the great pond with a walking path just around the corner) are all the same reasons that the bobcat chose it to be her home too.

Here’s a little food for thought. Chances are, her and her family were there first (and have been for generations! They thank you for that beautiful hardwood deck with the open bottom, the great storage shed with a concrete floor that makes it feel soo much cooler in these hot Texas summers, that wonderful privacy fence lined with dense, low growing shrubs that offers so much security and seclusion, and the absolutely inviting koi pond with the bench swing that you love so much! They thank you for providing them with protection, security, habitat for them and their prey, and a steady water source!).

Just remember, wildlife is attracted to the same things we are. Privacy, safety, food, water, and shelter. The only way to prevent wildlife from living in “your space” is to move into a concrete bunker…and even then, I’m sure the geckos and spiders will be more than happy to hang out at your place! It is impossible and impractical to remove all wildlife from “your territory”. Instead, what I personally strive to do is encourage wildlife that are beneficial for my goals while simultaneously discouraging wildlife that does the opposite.

Here’s a fun example. How much money do you spend on watering and fertilizing your beautiful lawn and landscaping every month? A lot, huh? Have you considered inviting creatures that already specialize in landscaping? Providing native bees and butterflies with nectar plants (and food plants for caterpillars!) along side your carefully selected asthetic plants will attract these guys to your yard and keep your landscaping looking beautiful year after year. These guys will pollinate your flowers and help you cultivate your garden! Providing plants like white cabbage and passion vine will just keep them coming back as the butterflies look for food plants to lay their eggs on and nectar plants to keep their energy up!

I have an irregular awkward little spot in my yard that is hard to do anything with….it’s hard to mow due to it’s odd shape, it’s quite far away from the sprinkler system, and from the house making it hard to water, so instead of trying to make it look lush and green like the rest of my lawn, I plowed it up, and turned it into a low water butterfly/veggie garden. I surrounded my nectar plants with food plants for my caterpillars, and sprinkled them amongst my veggies and fruits. It is never touched by pesticides or fertilizers (or any other harsh chemicals) and It works beautifully!

Want another example? How many of you out there pay for pest control services? Incorporating self sustaining habits into your lifestyle could help you live more comfortably with the wildlife around you! I live on 3/4 of an acre, in a heavily wooded neighborhood (in my yard alone, there are over 100 trees). I also keep chickens, compost green materials from my kitchen, and keep cords of firewood outside for winter. This can attract some unwanted wildlife in the form of rats, mice, snakes, and roaches. My solution? provide habitat for my local opossums! I love opies! And I would love to tell you why!

Most people see a Virgina opossum, and they describe them as pointy nosed, beady eyed,naked tailed, over-grown rats. I have to say, I can’t really disagree…they aren’t the most beautiful creatures out there, but I LOVE seeing them in my yard! (and if you give them a chance, those beady eyes may just grow on ya a little!). Isn’t Willow just darling?

Remember those creepy crawlies I mentioned a minute ago? Rats, mice, snakes, and roaches? Can you guess what some of an opie’s favorite foods are? You got it. SO, by providing plenty of sheltered spots and a bowl of water on my back porch for my ugly little friends, I cut down on large numbers of the afore-mentioned! Best of all, I didn’t pay hundreds of dollars for some guy in a haz-mat suit to spray all kinds of harsh chemicals all over the yard and house where kids and animals play! WIN!

BONUS: you people that fear snakes, pay attention! the only snake venom that affects opossums is coral snake venom! Opossums are IMMUNE to snake venom! Translation: Opossums can eat almost every snake found in Texas.

I may or may not have mentioned it on this blog before, but as well as being a behavioral specialist for The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch, I work as an Animal Services Officer for a major city in North Texas. I am certified by the state of Texas to carry the title of Officer. The benefit of wearing two hats is the ability to tell you what happens on both sides of the story! That, and I often get to give the wildlife that ends up at our shelter a fresh start. I don’t like seeing healthy adult wildlife come into the shelter. There is no reason for it. At best, it is frivolously exposing these animals un-necessary stress, and every disease known to animal kind. There is one upside for me though! I get to release lots of healthy adult opossums (after a period of quarantine and conditioning! Don’t try this without proper training…survival rates for animals of any species that are nothing more than relocated are abysmal, and cause a multitude of other problems in the habitat if not done properly) at my house to chow down on the excess of rats and snakes that love living in my wooded area!

Okay, okay, some of you are thinking “I don’t want that ugly disease carrying animal in my yard!”…admit it, you’re thinking it! Well, let me put a wide spread opossum myth to rest for you. Contrary to seemingly popular belief, opossums are not carriers for rabies! Let me say that again. Opossums are NOT carriers for rabies! Now, some of you may be thinking “what does she know? she’s just a dirty, tree hugging, dog catching hippy! Any nocturnal animal active during the day must be sick, probably with rabies!”

Well, I do raise chickens, I compost, I recycle, and I do love animals, but by no means am I uneducated in my profession! Remember the pesky state of Texas? they keep harping on me to know stuff for some reason! Don’t believe me? Our very good friends at the DFW Wildlife Coalition agree! http://www.dfwwildlife.org/opossum.html Arm yourself with education! ❤

Let me temper my previous statement by saying that there have been known cases of rabies in opossums, but they are exceedingly rare. I want to make sure you absorb all of what I am saying, so I will repeat. Cases of rabies in opossums are so exceedingly rare that they cannot be considered carriers for the virus. Known cases of rabies in opossums are under bizarre circumstances in which the virus has been introduced directly into the brain tissue necessary for the virus to replicate. The reason? Well, we aren’t quite sure, but our best guess is that the opossum’s primitive makeup (it’s nervous system [ the channels the virus would take to enter the brain ] is not as developed and connected as modern mammals) and oddly low body temperature actually offers it some manor of protection from the virus. Actually, for this same reason, opossums are not really carriers of any diseases…they even enjoy immunity from dog and cat ailments like distemper! Not a bad trade off for such a short lifespan!

Key points! Pay your opies in shelter and water, and they will do your clean-up for you! Their services are effective for long term use, and incorporate all natural ingredients, free of charge!

What if the wildlife you are dealing with isn’t a prey animal but a predator? Well, I have examples for that scenario too! First, ask yourself why you want that animal removed. For me, it was a fox. She was absolutely gorgeous! Stunningly beautiful coat, very large individual. She had taken up residence under my shed. Over the course of several months, she thinned down my flock of 15 chickens down to four! I couldn’t let my girls free range and forage anymore due to this very persistent predator. The most frustrating part was that she was killing three or four chickens at a time, just to kill them. She was not eating them, just playing with them. The final straw was when she swiped my tiny frizzled bantie named Karma, and then took some chickens from my neighbors…young kids that I had given some chickens to. She had to go.

Why did I wait four months to do something about this animal? It was spring time, and I feared that she had kits under my shed that would perish without their mother. Fair is fair, and I had invited her into my yard by providing her with the perfect den, and easy access to food and water for her kits. But, now it was time for her to go! I could not have her ruining my young neghbor’s experience of raising backyard chickens!

What did I do? Well, I trapped my fox, and did something I am all too familiar with…I strapped on some elbow pads, and crawled under that shed! It was not a pleasant experience, but I found that my darling fox was not providing for kits. So, I sealed off the bottom of my shed using 3/4inch hardware cloth, a staple gun, and some landscaping bricks to make it look pretty, sprung the trap, and watched that beautiful animal bound away. I have not seen her since, and have not lost any chickens since then.

We humans seem to have this rather deep rooted fear of anything predator. Most of the predators we deal with here in Texas are going to be no bigger than a bobcat or a fox. At the largest, they are around twenty pounds…that’s about the size of a cocker spaniel if you need a size reference. The chances of an animal that small being tenacious enough to take on a kid or a dog are extremely minimal. Bobcats (and foxes) are not terribly brave, especially not the ones we deal with here in urban settings. They would not waste the energy on something so large. Bunnies and squirrels (and the occasional chicken! grumble grumble!) are more their speed.

So just sit back, relax, and enjoy your urban wildlife! If it isn’t being a nuisance, get it to work to your advantage (or just enjoy the eye candy!), if it IS, talk to us! We can help you find practical ways to resolve the problem! Not every wild animal needs to be “fixed” by a rehabber!


WREN classes starting again!


Okay, I can admit it, our experimental expedited WREN class did not go over as we had planned! So, after some re-planning, we are again preparing to hold new full length WREN classes! Interested in becoming a permitted rehabber? Curious about wild animal care? Or do you just want some really good knowledge? Well, come join us for a brand new session of WREN classes hosted by The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch!

We have not offered classes for a while, and the demand has not slowed. Space is extremely limited, and we already have quite a few students on our roster, so if you are interested, please contact us immediately! Classes will be held from February 11 to March 31st, 10am-4pm. Tuition cost will be $350 per student.

You can contact us at kari@crosstimberswildlife.org OR getwild@crosstimberswildlife.org

Register for WREN here! http://crosstimberswildlife.org/wren_class_registration Remember, registration is on a first come, first served basis, and space is limited! Once this class has been filled, no further registrations will be accepted!


De-fleaing bobcats


Yesterday, we gave all of the bobcats flea treatments and vaccinations. They were not amused….Nothing like trying to frontline and stick five pissed off 15-30lb razor blades. Not to mention, it does not make for photogenic kitties….

The release program cats are always far easier to catch, vaccinate, and treat. Why, you ask? The long-term bobcats are completely used to being handled, and  aren’t easily bluffed. They know what we are up to, and they know exactly how to make it as hard as possible for us to do anything with them. It probably took ten minute per cat for the long terms, and closer to five for the release programs.

We vaccinated everyone except for Giggles (a release program bobcat that came in late last year. She got a special name because she has an odd habit of sticking her tongue out when she growls at you…it is rather adorable), and Olly. Giggles and Olly seem to be suffering from some sort of mild cold, and we do not want to stress their immune systems with a vaccine until they are over their illness. I should stop here and mention that when Giggles came in, she was far smaller, and appeared to be a female (the different sexes seem to have different facial structures, which WCCR is researching). However, recently, after moving her from isolation back into the release program pen, we realized that she did not have girl parts, but boy parts. However, she has been here, and called female for so long, that we all continue to refer to her as “she”.

Once Giggles and Olly are over their colds (that they are being treated for), we are looking at releasing Giggles, and Irving. Hopefully, I will be able to post some good video of the release 🙂

The reason we vaccinate is the high volumes of animals usually on the property. We get bobcats (and other species) from all over the region. They all come in for various reasons, and vaccinations are a good way to stay on top of disease prevention.

All of the staff members at WCCR are highly trained and have tons of experience working with bobcats. These cats may not be huge, but they are extremely powerful, and can inflict a lot of damage for someone not trained to work with them. If you have an issue with a bobcat, while WCCR does not trap bobcats, and prefers that they stay in their natural environment, we do handle cases of confined bobcats. Please feel free to contact us if you do have a bobcat that needs help. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HANDLE A BOBCAT ON YOUR OWN!

I am really suprised that we haven’t had any new bobcats come in for the past few weeks…by now we should have babies. I guess the late hard freeze has a lot to do with that. Baby season has been really slow this year so far. You can always contact me at kari@crosstimberswildlife.org if you need assistance with a bobcat.

I know you guys are acustomed to photos, so here is one of the bobkittes before they were all mad at us!


Quincy’s new toy


We had a new volunteer come to WCCR this weekend. He worked really hard. We have a lot of stuff that needs tidying, and he definately did alot! The best part is, Quincy got a new toy out of it!

He spent like two hours in this thing after we moved it in there! There are several different shaped and sized holes in it so he can crawl all through it. I am thoroughly impressed with the job he did! The project started as a platform for Quincy to jump out of his barrel on to. The barrel swings, so when he tries to jump out, it is a straight shot to the ground. The idea was to give him a raised platform to save him some stress on his shoulders and back.

Honestly, when he said he could build him something, I was expecting something that just looks like a sturdy table. What he came up with was awesome! And the best part is how much Quincy loves it! We were trying to coax him out of his fort for a good 30 minutes with that peacock feather!

It is about three feet tall, and super solid. all four sides are enclosed, so Quincy has a great place to hide out.

The next step is to paint it so it looks pretty! I don’t think Quincy cares what color it is!  Enrichment comes in many forms…


Coat Pattern


I was doing some research on my own, just to see what kind of information I could find out there on bobcats…the problem is, there really isn’t any consistant information. One site I came across (a .edu site, no less) even stated that baby bobcats have a well defined rosette pattern to their coat, but as they grow, their spots become less defined. this is NOT TRUE! Quincy is a great example of that. Here is a close up of his side, just to show you what I mean. He does not have well defined rosettes on his coat, nor will he develop them as he ages. Instead, for the most part, he has this freckled, mottled coat pattern.

Whatever coat pattern bobcats are born with, they keep through adulthood. Quincy will always have a freckled coat, and always has. You can see a few little rosettes towards his belly.

On the same token, we have several adult bobcats who DO have well defined rosette pattern to their coats.

You can see the difference in the clouded pattern of Hoover’s coat verses the freckled look of Quincy’s. Hoover’s brother Kirby, on the other hand, did not have rosettes. He had almost no spots at all.

A few of the goals at WCCR is to replace mis-information like this with good, solid, accurate information, and to augment the minimal knowledge that is available out there on this species.


Vanishing Center


I talked to our director a couple of days ago about where our center is heading. I truely am worried that we won’t be able to do enough to save this place. The health issues that our benifactors are experiencing have prooven that they can no longer continue in their current capacity at WCCR. I have sent out a couple of sponsorship requests, and started a few others. There is just too much information I need to put in these requests that is not readily available to me. I need someone to get the information, and put it in a packet for me because I do not have access to it myself. Problem is, none of this has been done.

It frustrates me to no end that we have so much going for us, and yet, we are struggling so hard. I am dying to hear good things back from the sponsorship requests that I have sent, but I know, and I keep telling myself that, there is a very real possiblity that the one or two requests I sent out will not render the results I am looking for. I am frustrated that until we pull together all of the things we need, I really don’t have any other places I can request funding from.

It is unfortunate that this was sprung on us so suddenly. Honestly, I would feel so much better about this if we had more time.

We are down to just 11 bobcats on the property, still a HUGE number for any other rehabilitation facility…for us, that is a tiny number. For WCCR, 7,000 animals is an average year. What is going to happen to all of the wildlife that would have come here if we close our doors? I am especially worried about the bobcats. There are NO other facilites that can handle the numbers of bobcats that we do. There are barely any facilities that can handle one or two bobcats a year, and even fewer that have the experience to rehab them.

I look at established centers like the Heard Museum, and look at their sponsorship page…it is HUGE! I am struggling just to find sponsorship programs…and submitting them is an entirely different animal. I am not a grant writer. I am just a supporter of WCCR, and who like the other members of our keystone group despirately wants to see this center get off the ground.

In two years, our accomplishments have been phenominal. The numbers of animals that have come through our doors more than highlights the necessity of this rehabilitation center in this area; It demands WCCR exhist.

For the past two years, we have been right on schedual with our growth and development plan that had already been layed out. We are entering year three of our development plan. The beginning of construction of our planned state of the art facility and clinic, and housing for interns and students of the WREN project.

Everything we need is already in place. The diet we feed takes care if it’s self, for the most part the materials we need take care of themselves, and honestly, it is a fairly self sustaining facility. Our key issue is not stuff so much, we just really need funding to cover our opperating costs at the moment. Our plan is to eventually bring in enough sponsors and grants to expand further, but our immenent need is opperating costs.

I hope it’s just for today that I feel so uncertain. I hope that I hear good things back from my efforts…