This bobcat makes hunting for salmon look easy, and frankly puts human fishing to shame. Just reach in, grab a snack almost as big as yourself for breakfast, and even manage to stay mostly dry in the process.
The wildcat's expert display of fishing prowess was caught on camera in Washington's Olympic National Park by ranger Lee Taylor, who was out and about looking for salmon in the streams of Hoh, a temperate rainforest located within the park.
"I went looking for spawning salmon and found a fishing bobcat," Taylor wrote on the park's Facebook page. "You never know what you might come across even on a quiet snowy morning."
Though getting to watch a bobcat fish or hunt might be unusual – they're primarily solitary and nocturnal creatures, meaning they generally hunt at night and away from prying eyes – fishing for a meal is hardly unusual for a bobcat (Lynx rufus).
These far-ranging, opportunistic hunters are found throughout North America, as well as Canada and as far south as central Mexico – and their unfussy diets can sometimes land them odd meals. The felines tend towards smaller prey like fish, rabbits, rodents and birds, as well as other small animals local to their habitat. However, they'll occasionally try their luck with larger prey like deer or pigs.
In 2015, a bobcat was photographed dragging a shark out of the surf on a beach in Florida. The incident was unusual enough that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission examined the photo to verify it – and according to spokesperson Liz Barraco, it checked out.
"We have no reason to believe [the photograph is] fake," Barraco told National Geographic, noting that bobcats were strong occasional fishers. "But this is the first time we've seen them fishing in saltwater."
The animal apparently realised the shark was more than it had bargained for and abandoned its catch on the beach, but the capture itself was still a success. With the shark incident as context, it's perhaps less surprising that Washington's wild cat managed to nab a salmon so easily. One thing's for certain: with skills like that, the bobcat won't be going hungry anytime soon.
Top header image: LizabethL, Flickr