Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helped a bobcat find its way down an electric pole Thursday, May 9, 2019, near the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Collier County. Naples


How did the bobcat get to the top of the power pole?

It climbed there, of course, sometime Thursday along Interstate 75 in Collier County near mile marker 78.

“It’s not an uncommon type of a behavior,” said Carol Lyn Parrish, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “A bobcat is a feline, and there are some characteristics that you’d see with your cat at home.”

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But unlike your cat at home, which may not climb higher than the couch, this bobcat clawed its way to the top of a power pole, well above a fence designed to keep Florida panthers and other wildlife from getting onto the Alligator Alley portion of I-75.

“It’s in their nature to climb, but as far as the power pole, that’s the first I’ve heard of,” Parrish said.

FWC biologists were able to coax the cat down.

A crew used a cherry-picker type of machine to lift a biologist into the air.

“One of the biologists was in a bucket truck, and DOT was out there because it was their power pole,” Parrish said. “And you kind of create a presence and the bobcat just kind of got down on its own.”

The bobcat could be seen online from a Florida Department of Transportation camera mounted nearby.

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The power pole cat scurried off and into the woods after being encouraged.

Bobcats are quite common in Florida and can be found primarily in vast wildernesses like the Big Cypress National Preserve or Everglades National Park. 

A pair of bobcats were recently reported at the Sanibel Lighthouse at the east end of the island.

Those cats were thought to be feeding on rabbits living in sand dunes along the beach.

Rabbits are the top prey item for bobcats, which can grow to more than 30 pounds.

Megan Kearney contributed to this story.

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Just the facts

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) 

» Fur is tan to yellowish-brown and marked with spots or stripes or both. Backs of ears marked with white spots. Bobbed tail. 

» Weighing between 9 and 33 pounds, bobcats range from Canada to Mexico and are quite common in Florida. 

» Communicate through scent, visual signs and vocalization. 

» Majority of diet consists of rabbits, followed by rodents like squirrels and mice. Also hunts small deer, snakes and lizards. 

» Can run up to 30 mph and places rear feet in footprint of front feet to reduce noise while hunting. 

» Generally solitary and territorial, although they rarely fight among themselves. 

Source: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 


More on bobcats in Florida

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More: Two bobcats seen wandering around Sanibel Lighthouse beach area, likely hunting rabbits

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