While driving through wild scrubland in Central Florida’s Polk County, Cathy Terry had a “once in a lifetime” encounter. At first, she thought it was just an ordinary “Polk County traffic jam”—words she used to describe a small alligator waddling across a tarmac road. But what followed was much more unusual.
“I was in my car without my ‘real’ camera about a mile south of our house in Bartow, Florida. I saw the gator crossing the road and thought, Get a quick pic to put on Facebook for fun,” Terry told Newsweek. “All of a sudden, really fast, the bobcat darted out of the brush and I caught my breath and said, ‘No way!'”
The bobcat stealthily stalked the alligator across the road as Terry watched from her car. “I thought I’d better get a pic with both and a video or nobody would believe me,” she said. “I kept saying to myself, ‘I can’t believe I get to see this!'”
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Bobcats are found throughout most of North America, but it is fairly uncommon to see them during the day because of their elusive nature. In recent years, bobcat populations in Florida have declined because of habitat loss and hunting, but according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, between 3,000 and 4,000 live in the state.
Bobcats are mostly found in wooded areas, swamps and scrubland. They are twice as large as domestic cats and usually grow to about 2 to 4 feet in length. They are opportunistic carnivores, which means they will eat whatever they can catch. Usually, this means rabbits and rodents, but they may also eat larger prey like deer, small livestock and, apparently, alligators.
Alligators, on the other hand, are commonly spotted throughout Florida, and there are thought to be more than 1.3 million across the state.