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article imageAmazing photo of bobcat catching shark in Florida

By Stephen Morgan     Apr 8, 2015 in Environment
An amazing image of a bobcat coming out the sea with a shark in its teeth has been captured on an iPhone. The picture has gone viral in a big way. Many have dismissed it as some sort of hoax, but animal experts say it may well be authentic.
Liz Barraco of the Florida Wildlife Commission told WPFV radio, "There is no reason to believe it’s fake.” The photo was published on its Facebook page and biologists there think the shark is probably a three-foot adult Atlantic Sharpnose Shark.
To the average person, the sight of a bobcat dragging a shark from the water seems far-fetched, but according to the Huffington Post, other biologists have come forward to support the possibility that it is authentic.
In an interview with CBS12 station, David Hitzig, who is director of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, said that Florida bobcats are known to hunt along beaches. In this case, the beach was part of Florida's Sebastian Inlet State Park.
The scene was caught in the evening, which is the time when the cats come out to hunt, other than after dawn. On the other hand, some have questioned whether the shadows in the picture tie in with the angle it was shot from at that time of day, but so far nobody has been able to prove it was a hoax.
The bobcat, which is part of the Lynx genus, is certainly capable of killing a shark. Although, it generally hunts rabbits, hares, birds and geese or chickens, it has been known to kill deer.
It generally avoids water, but can swim if it wants to. Florida is known for the multitudes of sharks in low waters, and the Florida bobcat is known to sometimes stroll the beaches searching for prey.
The Miami Herald says that,
"They don’t fear water, unlike some wild cats, and have been known to take a dip in search of food."
Robert King, a wildlife specialist who has studied bobcats in the Everglades, told the Miami Herald.
“Unless it’s been photo-shopped, I believe it. Would they go into the surf and pull out a shark? Darn right they would!”
The bobcat can grow to anywhere from 1.5ft to 4ft in in length (5m to 1.5m) and weigh from from 14 to 40 lb (6.4 to 18.3 kg.) They are found across North America and northern Mexico, though those in the south tend to be smaller than those in Canada.
However, they are afraid of humans and generally avoid us. This might tie in with the photographer, John Bailey's claim that it bolted as soon as it saw him, leaving its prey behind and heading for the nearby woods.
Amy Kight, Animal Care Director for Busch Wildlife Sanctuary told WPTV that,
“My first reaction was amazement that somebody actually took that picture because bobcats are generally very, very reclusive. You don't really see them out and about too often.” They believe it may have been a female looking for food for its young.
Mr Bailey told Local10.com. that he noticed the bobcat looking at a the sharp feeding on a fish in shallow water, but added,
"Initially, it was pretty quick. Spotted it, pulled it up (and) the shark floundered for a while."
With regard to all the interest online, Mr Bailey said he never imagined the shot would turn into an Internet sensation.
“It’s kind of been a shock,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that rare, but I guess it is.”
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