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'Brazen Bobcat' Catches Shark off Florida Coast

Apr 08, 2015 04:51 PM EDT
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Florida state is a bit infamous for the crazy things its people do, but what about its wildlife? One lucky photographer recently caught a local bobcat fishing for shark on a local beach. Now people are no-doubt wondering, "is that normal?!"

The cat in question was first spotted by John Bailey earlier this week, when he was taking an evening stroll. He told the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and local media that the animal was staring into the water at Sebastian Inlet State Park, and had somehow not noticed the human coming up behind it.

That's because the bobcat was transfixed by another predator, a small shark feeding on fish that had clustered along the water's edge. After a moment of stunned silence - watching two very different predators at work - Bailey reached for his camera to get an amazing shot of this rare and powerful scene.

It was at this moment that "the bobcat leaped into the water atop the shark and dragged it ashore," the FWC reported. Turning to leave with its prize in tow, the cat finally noticed Bailey, dropped its hard-won burden, and ran.

Bailey then shared the photo (above) with the commission, which promptly posted it to social media. Some have questioned if the picture is real, or if that was indeed a bobcat we are looking at. The FWC even admits that bobcats and another resident cat, the threatened puma, are easy to confuse. (Scroll to read on...)

However, even with the animal waterlogged from fishing, "experts looked at the photo and agreed with 'bobcat,'" the commission added. "If you enlarge the photo you can see the spots on the hind legs especially."

The shark is suspected to be an Atlantic sharpnose shark, which is common is Florida waters and only grows to a maximum of three feet in length.

Bobcats are not exactly uncommon in Florida either, where there is enough prey to go around. Unlike many other big cats in the Americas, Lync rufus is considered a species of "least concern" by the IUCN Red List, as its smaller size and territorial range allow it to maintain stable populations even in shrinking natural habitats. It can also adapt much like smaller feral cats or the wild coyote, successfully living close to humans while remaining undetected. It is even well known that these cats have learned to supplement their diets by raiding dumpsters and chicken coops. Now, we can add the occasional shore-side shark to that list.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

- follow Brian on Twitter @BS_ButNoBS

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