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Prof. Katie Hinde @Mammals_Suck
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Tonight's FINAL BATTLE is 6-seed BOBCAT (Lynx rufus) vs. 11 seed STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis) #2018MMM
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: This #2018MMM battle will not feature ANY Warner Bros skunk gifs that involve him harassing and grabbing a lady he's after. #OnlyYesMeansYes
In this head to head match-up the two are going carnivora-e-carnivora although they last shared a common ancestor ~54 MYA timetree.org #2018MMM
Bobcat's are medium-sized felids found broadly across North America, populations are well-established & of least concern to the @IUCN (distribution map via Darekk2 using the IUCN Red List spatial data in Wikipedia) #2018MMM
Cue "least concerned about @NatickBobcat" jokes #2018MMM (pic by Cliff Berinsky dpreview.com/forums/post/26…)
Lynx rufus were historically called the Common American Wild Cat, Tiger Cat, & Bay Cat by colonizers. Today Lynx rufus is most commonly called the "Bobcat," a moniker in reference to its 5 inch tail nubbin. #2018MMM
Though known to bring down deer on occasion, the bobcat most frequently dines on hare, rabbit, and... porcupine (Pollack 1951) #2018MMM jstor.org/stable/3796612
In urban areas, both males & females are less active during the day to temporally separate from humans, bobcat males are more likely than females to use roads in part bc their home ranges are bigger (up to 25 square miles) #2018MMM sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
I must note that during #2018MMM research, I have uncovered a first-hand account that the #SquirrelArmy conducts high-risk distraction maneuvers to aid bobcat escape from humans! (Audubon & Bachman in 1846 The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America).
Whoops there were supposed to be some Audubon artwork with that tweet too #2018MMM HE DIDN'T JUST PAINT BIRDS YOU KNOW!
"Striped skunks are opportunistic omnivorous predatory feeders" that really like insects but will also chow down on small mammals, birds, eggs or vegetation depending on the season iucnredlist.org/details/41635/0 #2018MMM
Striped skunks, like bobcat, are widely distributed across North America & characterized as least concern by @IUCN (image by Udo Schröter via Wikipedia) BUT the two species typically temporally sequested with bobcats active in daytime & skunks active at night #LadyHawke #2018MMM
Striped skunks can be found in higher densities in human-modified landscapes as they scavenge garbage and access bird-feeders (Johnson 2016) aura.antioch.edu/cgi/viewconten… #2018MMM
"When threatened, skunks erect their tail, stomp their feet, rake the ground with their claws, charge their attacker, and finally spray a noxious compound from their anal glands a distance of up to 18 feet!" (Hunter 2009) #2018MMM
Skunk "spray causes nausea, vomiting, and temporary blindness" (Hunter 2009) #2018MMM
In the United States, skunks are potentially killed by... red foxes, raccoons, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, badgers, and... BOBCATS!!!! (Hunter 2009) #2018MMM
BUT a 1937 skunk-bobcat encounter carefully described in the natural history literature was a major topic of conversation during #2017MMM #2018MMM
Tonight's Battle takes place in Millbury, Massachusetts... where the bobcat hunting season ended March 8. #LuckyBobcat mass.gov/service-detail… #2018MMM
And only 22 miles, as the owl flies, from Natick, MA. #2018MMM #LocationPickedAtRandom
In the evening twilight, bobcat is returning from a day on the prowl, padding through the shoulder high grass, rippling in a gentle breeze #2018MMM
As he approaches a confluence of game trails, the shifting wind teases his nose... #SKUNK #2018MMM
Bobcat pauses... Audubon & Bachman's Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America in 1846 described "the general appearance of <bobcat> conveys the idea of ferocity..." #2018MMM
"... which can not with propriety be considered to be belonging to its character." #HAHA #Bobcat #2018MMM
Bobcat needs to verify if the critter he smells is indeed a skunk or if the skunk scent covers danger more from which he should flee?!

Audubon & Bachman continued to describe bobcat as "generally cowardly when attacked, and always flies from its pursuers, if it can." #2018MMM
After all, Audubon & Bachman found the bobcat to be "very timid and always rather inclined to beat a retreat" #ScaredyCatSince1846 #2018MMM
Skunk trots as the wind shifts and she smells BOBCAT! Standing to look over the grass, skunk sees bobcat ~15 feet away! #2018MMM
The first signal that skunk is not playing around is a raised tail- their most common warning alert- but in the tall grass the visual signal is compromised... (Lartviere & Messier 1996) #2018MMM
Just to be sure, skunk escalates to Anti-Predator Signal Alert Level 2-

STOMPING!

(Lartviere & Messier 1996) #2018MMM
For skunks, chemically spraying a predator is a defense of last resort! (Lartviere & Messier 1996) #2018MMM
Mesopredators, like the bobcat, are less likely to approach skunk-colored & skunk-shaped critters (Hunter 2009) #2018MMM
And "skunk populations appear to be controlled primarily through starvation and disease, rather than predation" (Hunter 2009) #2018MMM
Having a full belly & headed to bed, bobcat is in no hurry to approach the skunk and sits watching the smaller carnivore #2018MMM
Having slept away the day, skunk is eager to get on with her foraging, and watches for any sign of threat from the bobcat #2018MMM
Skunk encounters with potential danger are typically "terminated by the skunk running away from the source of disturbance." (Lartviere & Messier 1996) #2018MMM
Skunk continues trotting down the game trail, quitting the field of battle, to resume her "normal activities rapidly (within 2 min) after a disturbance event" such as coming into proximity with a potential predator (Lartviere & Messier 1996) #2018MMM
BOBCAT OUTWAITS STRIPED SKUNK!!!!! #2018MMM
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