Bobcat Sitting On Top Of 40 Foot Tall Cactus In The Arizona Desert

A photographer captured a rather unusual scene in the Arizona desert- a bobcat was sitting on top of a giant Saguaro cactus to avoid becoming a prey of a mountain lion. 

We would go to great lengths to survive when we are in jeopardy, that’s for sure. The same goes for animals, without a doubt. Now, imagine what would a bobcat do to save her life!

One skillful bobcat climbed on the top of a 40-foot tall cactus to avoid being eaten by a mountain lion!

Namely, the massive plant with two-inch spikes in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert became her safe spot. The Giant Saguaro Cactus is very rare, and this one is thought to be up to 300-years-old.

The entire event was documented by photographer Curt Fonger, 69, from Gold Canyon, Arizona, in April 2011.

He explained that a friend called him at 7 am and explained that “one of his workers had seen a bobcat being chased by a mountain lion.”

The bobcat quickly ran across the road in front of his car and climbed up the massive cactus at the roadside, “with the lion hot on its tail”.

The lion kept circling the base of the plant, looked at the bobcat, and growled. Then, she “turned around and trotted back up from where it had come.”

One theory is that the mountain lion had kittens, and the bobcat entered their territory, so she chased her to warn her not to come close to her family again.

Fonger added:

“I was astonished that the bobcat was on such a high prickly perch. In fact, the beautiful creature seemed quite content and was lying on top of the cactus. It only stood up when I got its attention.

But I found out later that the bobcat stayed put for over six hours before finally deciding it was safe enough to come back down.”

Bobcats are skillful climbers and can climb tall trees and even saguaros to escape predators. Their tough paws make them immune to the saguaro’s prickly needles, so they probably do not even feel the sharp cactus spikes.

Susan Bass, communications manager for Big Cat Rescue, explains that they are “incredibly resourceful animals.” She added that “the important thing to remember is to leave the cat alone and give it space”, and it will come down and move on.

Curt continued:

“Although it may be common for a bobcat to escape one of its major predators, it is very uncommon to have witnessed such an event first hand. I personally examined the base of the giant cactus after the bobcat had left. There was no hair or blood – only claw marks.

It’s a successful story of a bobcat avoided being eaten by a mountain lion with a happy ending of its successful exit back into the desert.”

However, the series of photos and video he took fascinated the rest of the world!

The photos found their way to YouTube and went viral.  They even appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets.

National Geographic even used one of the images in an educational children’s book!

Last year, the Cook Museum in Decatur, Alabama, found the photos and decided to feature them in their new Desert/Arctic display.

Fonger concluded:

“One little creature has done so much good and helped so many other animals, just by escaping a pursuing mountain lion. And he has brought smiles to thousands of people all over the globe. Amazing.”



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