Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eucalyptus Bob

Here's an odd one for ya.

At a cam trap in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just 3 days after I left it, a wind storm whipped a 4-foot branch off of a nearby Eucalyptus tree. Which fell on the camera. Smack on top. Now, I always appreciate camouflage help, but this also resulted in a twig of leaves in front of the lens. That then moved around, triggered the motion-sensor, and quickly shot out the camera.

However - hidden within the hundreds of wasted photos of wiggling Euc leaves, is this wild series of a bobcat coming to visit.

And now I'm stuck with the question - why? Was it a residual scent left on the cam trap from prior use? Or, do bobcats like the aroma of wet Blue Gum, Eucalyptus globulus? It is the species used to extract Eucalyptus oils for innumerable products and medicines.

Or, was bob just trying to do us a solid and pull the branch off the camera, but failed?

What do you all think?











Hopefully we'll see this bob again. But next time without the screen.



  1. Lalala, I am a cat and I am going to rub against this hard, eucalyptus-smelling box. Such is the life of a cat.

  2. Huh....neat. I've never actually smelled eucalyptus. Does it have a strong scent like spearmint....wintergreen or cat-nippy stuff? I've talked to a 'cat trapper who swears by "minty" scented stuff as a lure....

    1. Yes, it has a very strong scent. As powerful as sage or mint (to our nose anyway), but nearer in character to bay leaves, I'd say. You may actually have run into the aroma - there's a bunch of natural insect repellents out now that are based on eucalyptus oil and quite pungent.

    2. for cats, huh??? I'll be cultivating some catnip this spring then and sprinking in front of my cams I guess this spring!!!

    3. Alyssa - sounds like you might enjoy my post Bobcat Junkies. :)

  3. It was either your overpowering pheromones or a sexy plant smell. Either way, it is time to design your experiment.

  4. The cat clearly seems to be enjoying itself. I watched monkeys in Ecuador rubbing onions all over their bodies. I guessed that it was a natural form of insect repellent. Could this be the same thing? Of course dogs rub all over rotting carcasses. Who knows what benefit, or pleasure animals derive from such things?

    1. Yes, the world of smell-o-vision is mostly a mystery to us humans. Very cool that you've seen monkeys do the bug repellent rub first hand - I've only seen it in a documentary. And, it's a solid question if animals such as bobs might do something similar, even if unknowingly. I.e., it may give them a high to rub in it, but also prevent ticks and fleas and such, and so the love of it gets indirectly re-enforced through natural selection. For example, woodrats that live in and collect bay laurel have fewer ectoparasites, and as a result have been shown to have healthier and longer lives. But that's not specifically why they forage it.

  5. Interesting post :) I'll add my 10c:

    I remember often referring to Ralf (our now deceased Doberman) as an herbalist. When we moved into our current house I noticed him "sampling" almost every plant in the garden. He would smell, rub and even nibble almost every plant in the garden. I found this strange, but after a while I noticed that he started focusing his effort on only a few species. For instance since he was old and sore he would often go to the porch and rub himself in the huge lavender bush and then go back to sleep on the couch (much more relaxed than before). He only used the “real” lavender bush and not one of the other bushes in the garden that was a related “fake” lavender. He also completely consumed/destroyed (rubbing and eating) two bushes of “Kooigoed” which is well known for its healing abilities. I have no doubt that he was keenly aware of the healing benefits that plants provide.

    We've also used Eucalyptus oils on him to help with skin allergies with great success, and recently I saw a TV program about Cape Parrots using Eucalyptus to help dissolve a sticky residue that forms on their beaks after feeding on other plants. Eucalyptus is well known as an insect repellent, etc.

    I would not rule out this Bobcat as a passionate herbalist ;)

    1. Great stuff Henry. Dogs and cats are definitely passionate herbalists, but I don't know that I'm ready to make the leap that they understand the cause and effect, as it seems the monkeys do. But maybe... :)


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