Big Cats Stuck on Tall Things, Part II: Bobcat on giant cactus


A bobcat (Lynx rufus) hid on a suguaro cactus for six hours / Curt Fonger, Visions of the Southwest
A bobcat (Lynx rufus) hid on a suguaro cactus for six hours / Curt Fonger, Visions of the Southwest

Curt Fonger has been photographing Arizona wildlife for 40 years and he’s never seen anything quite like this: a bobcat perched on top of a massive suguaro cactus. In early April Fonger and his wife got a call from a friend who saw the bobcat, chased by a mountain lion, claw her way up a 45-foot prickly cactus.

“Bobcats aren’t rare out here,” Curt says. “But seeing one atop a ‘prickly perch,’ such as this Saguaro, is.”

The mountain lion left fairly quickly, but just to be sure, the bobcat stayed perched way up on the cactus for about six hours, Curt says.

The cat finally crawled “down from the top about 5 feet or so–then the cat launched itself out into space ( about 3.5 stories up), came down on all fours, and vanished back into the wash, going back up into the Superstition Mountains,” he says. “It wasn’t hurt in any way.”

His wife Marta Saint-James says the chance encounter was “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

They were both stunned how cool the cat was, considering he was facing a mountain lion, a human photographer, a prickly cactus and a 45-foot drop. Since cats don’t normally eat other cats, they speculated the mountain lion might have been protecting nearby cubs.

“Mountain lions can–no doubt–climb saguaros themselves,” he says. “However, it seems that this time she was satisfied with showing ‘Gold Canyon Bob’–our now famous Bobcat–who was in charge.”

The picture is so popular, the couple was interviewed by the local Fox station and KPHO.  A local shop Gold Canyon Embroidery & Boutique is gearing up to sell T-shirts that will go to benefit Apache Junction Animal Shelter, which the Apache Junction chief of police runs. That’s because Curt and Marta are overall animal lovers.
Cactus cat

A bobcat (Lynx rufus) looking serene on a suguaro cactus / Curt Fonger, Visions of the Southwest

Check out Fonger’s other work

Read about a mountain lion who climbed a telephone pole


felineleopard Where to SEE BIG CATS: Cougar, Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Tiger



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