With their notoriously elusive and mostly nocturnal habits, bobcats are not often seen in the wild – unless, of course, there's one scuffling with a rattlesnake in broad daylight on an Arizona sidewalk, that is ...

Realtor Laura Lucky spotted this unlikely street fight while showing properties to clients in north Scottsdale recently. The bobcat, seemingly unperturbed by a smattering of onlookers taking in the action from the safety of their vehicles nearby, can be seen repeatedly pawing at a hapless snake before finally landing a fatal blow and carrying its quarry off into the surrounding desert. Lucky uploaded footage of the remarkable sighting to Facebook where it quickly garnered several thousand views. “I've never seen anything like that [in] my entire life," she told a local news outlet.

According to Lucky, the snake, which looks to be a diamondback rattler, did manage to land a few strikes to the cat's face before finally succumbing to the relentless attack. Bobcats are not immune to snake venom, so if this cat did take a hit, it will certainly feel the effects, however, feline agility usually helps ensure that bobcats dodge most snake strikes.

The species is found throughout North America, as well as Canada and as far south as central Mexico. "Bobcats most frequently eat rabbits, but also often prey on gophers, ground squirrels and woodrats," says Urban carnivore specialist Dr Laurel Serieys. It's a dietary preference that makes these stealthy hunters a vital part of urban ecosystems as they help keep rodent numbers in check. 

When they aren't munching on mammals though, bobcats, with their opportunistic hunting tactics and unfussy diets, will eat anything from birds and reptiles to the occasional venomous snake (a bobcat was even photographed dragging a shark out of the surf in Florida in 2015!).

This sighting is particularly interesting, however, as it occurred during daylight hours. "Bobcats are primarily nocturnal animals, especially near urban areas where they try to avoid human encounters," says Serieys. "In fact, bobcats that live in areas highly fragmented by urbanisation are even more nocturnal than bobcats that live in remote areas."

When a similar instance of daylight dining was captured in June last year, it was thought that the cat may be harbouring kittens nearby, which may also be the case here. Female bobcats need to consume extra calories when caring for their young,  so more brazen predation events like this can occur. The cats usually mate in February or March and give birth to a litter around two months later. Mother bobcats will rarely stray from the den site following birth and it could be that this cat had some kittens stashed nearby.

As far as Lucky was concerned, it was a “great way to add entertainment and breakup a 16-hour tour”!

Header image: Kenneth Cole Schneider