Humans and animals both alike would go to great lengths to survive when they’re put upon grave dangers. So, is it possible that a bobcat would climb up a 40-foot tall cactus with 2-inch spikes to save itself from being eaten by a mountain lion? Definitely. A wildlife photographer captured this rather unusual event that happened in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona.
Photographer Curt Fonger, 69, received a call from a friend saying “one of his workers had seen a bobcat being chased by a mountain lion.” Naturally, the photographer arrived at the spot right in time to capture the event on camera.
“With the lion hot on its tail”, the bobcat had quickly run across the road in front of his car and the 300-year-old Giant Saguaro Cactus at the roadside became its safe spot to escape the impending danger.
Although the bobcat was suddenly out of reach, the lion wasn’t ready to give up. She circled the base of the cactus, growling at the bobcat. After a while, she “turned around and trotted back up from where it had come.”
Saguaros are an extremely rare cactus that only one in 1,000 seeds successfully germinates. It takes nearly 10 years just to grow one inch in length. It starts to branch between the ages of 75 and 100 years old or in terms of length – by the time it reaches 15 feet.
He explained that the big chase could’ve been a warning for the bobcat to not enter the territory of the mountain lion and her kittens.
Fonger described further, “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.”
The bobcat had stayed put on the towering cactus for over six hours before finally deciding it was safe enough to climb down.
He added, “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.”
He had personally taken a close look at the base of the cactus after the bobcat had left. “There was no hair or blood – only claw marks.”
Bobcats are well-known for their dexterity in climbing not just tall trees but saguaros as well, as evident from the incident. Their paws are so tough that he might not have even felt the sharp cactus spikes.
The series of photographs and the video captured by Curt went viral immediately and appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets.
“It’s a success story of a bobcat avoided being eaten by a mountain lion with a happy ending of its successful exit back into the desert.
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,” Curt concluded.