HARLINGEN — It was a relaxing Sunday morning, and Phyllis and Keith Ostrander were spending it like they always do, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper before heading to church.
And then they came face-to-face with one cool cat.
The bobcat, which the Ostranders estimated weighed about 20 pounds, walked along the top of the wall of their Cottonwood subdivision yard, just 10 to 15 feet away from the surprised couple.
“I am a native and I have never seen anything like that” said Phyllis, who is 81.
Keith was a quick thinker, though, grabbing his camera and getting a photo of the visitor, who looked like he or she was posing for it.
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The bobcat is a medium-sized, reddish brown cat about the size of a chow dog.
Length of the adult is about 3 feet, 6 inches.
Weight is 12 to 20 pounds, occasionally up to 36 pounds in old, fat males.
Bobcats are highly adaptable felines and throughout most of their range in Texas have shown a marked ability to cope with the inroads of human settlement.
The bobcat’s food consists mainly of small mammals and birds. Among the mammals found in bobcat stomachs, wood rats, ground squirrels, mice and rabbits supply the bulk of the diet.
Occasionally deer are killed and eaten, but most of the deer meat found in bobcat stomachs has been carrion.
The bobcat also preys upon domestic sheep, goats and poultry. The predatory damage is not great, except in rare instances.
The bobcat is the only native Texas cat which is important as a fur animal.
Source: W.B. Davis, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University. Revised by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.