Living in the country for much of my youth, I grew up seeing wild animals on the farm. Raccoons, skunks, opossum, squirrels, coyotes, you name it. But one animal that I never had an encounter with was a bobcat. Perhaps we didn't have enough wooded areas near our farm. These wildcats are native to Iowa and several other midwest states, but a sighting is still a rare and special occurrence.

The Iowa DNR says that the bobcat is one of three wildcats that can be found in Iowa, the others two being the Lynx and the Mountain Lion. But only the bobcat has established a breeding population here in the state. Even though bobcats are often confused for larger animals, they have unique features that really set them apart, mainly their tail. The DNR points out that bobcats have a 'bobbed' tail that is only around 10 inches long. The cats are around 3 feet long and weigh around 20 to 30 pounds.

A friend shared the above video on Facebook this weekend of a bobcat passing through a backyard in West Des Moines. By the looks of the surroundings, there are plenty of woods around for cover but it still is surprising to see this cat out in the open!

The DNR says that bobcats move around a lot, up to 10 miles in just one week. Who knows where this cat was headed, but chances are he's long gone from this backyard! Even though the number of bobcats in Iowa has gone up in recent years, a sighting like this one is still pretty rare.

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