Home' Island Sun : ISN 011516 Contents JANUARY SUNRISE/SUNSET:
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VOL. 23, NO. 30
SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS, FLORIDA
JANUARY 15, 2016
Sanibel & Captiva Islands
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Living With Wildlife:
Bobcats On Sanibel
by Jeff Lysiak
One of the precious treasures which the islands of Sanibel and Captiva are
renowned for – other than, of course, the bountiful varieties of seashells
found on the beaches – is the assortment of wild creatures which call them
home. From sea turtles and otters in the waters, to plovers and roseate spoonbills in
the skies, to gopher tortoises and Eastern indigo snakes on the land, all species are
important to our delicate ecosystem.
So dedicated to maintaining that balance in 1967, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation
Foundation (SCCF) was created “to preserve natural resources and wildlife habitat on
and around the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.” Through land protection, resource man-
agement and environmental education strategies, the foundation is helping people who
reside and visit here to live cooperatively with all kinds of critters.
Last week, SCCF hosted one of its monthly programs – Bobcat Tales – conducted
by Environmental Educator Dee Serage-Century at the Nature Center headquarters. Her
60-minute presentation included information about the reclusive cats’ physical character-
istics, behavior, diet, range and habitat, along with several stories about encounters with
bobcats on the islands.
“They’re very secretive creatures... they sort of live out of the way,” Serage-Century
told the audience. “And they don’t just live hidden in the wild; they’re living in and
around our neighborhoods. But you’re pretty safe with bobcats, as long as you walk
your dog on a leash.”
Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are one of 38 cat species worldwide, seven of which call North
America home. They are the most widely distributed feline species in the United States,
which includes seven subspecies. Usually found with a tan, spotted coat, some species of
bobcat in Florida have exhibited a melantistic (or black) coat.
Adult bobcats grow to approximately two feet tall and weigh around 20 pounds.
Their diet consists of rats, lizards, raccoons, opossum, birds, fish and sea turtle eggs
(during nesting season), all of which are plentiful on the islands.
“They are very solitary creatures that stake out their territory,” said Serage-Century.
“The only time that you’ll see a male and female bobcat out together is during mating
Female bobcats reach sexual maturity at approximately one year. Breeding season is
from late fall through mid-spring, and gestation lasts 50 to 75 days. Bobcats birth kittens
once per year, with a litter of two or three kittens on average.
continued on page 8
Steve Marshall took this photo while biking through the Bailey Tract
photo by Steve Marshall
Meet The Authors At The Library
Sanibel Public Library will hold a variety of programs in January; no registration
is required to attend.
Christine Lindsey of The Sprout Queen speaks at 2 p.m . on Friday, January
15. The Sprout Queen, part of Pine Island Botanicals, is located on Pine Island. Since
late 2009, Lindsey has helped many by offering fresh, locally and organically grown
non-GMO sprouts, microgreens, and wheatgrass. She will share nutritional knowledge
and show how easily one can grow in their own space – whether it be a home, a condo
or a boat.
David Watts returns for an encore program on identity theft at 2 p.m . on Monday,
continued on page 31
Winter Camp Students Explore
The Deep At Sanibel Sea School
Winter Camp participants at Sanibel Sea School were treated to two weeks of
holiday fun and learning related to the deep, dark, cold ocean and its many
Campers discovered that there are salty underwater lakes in the Gulf of Mexico,
examined the surprising relationship between anglerfish and bacteria, and considered
how amazing it is that humans have been to the moon more often than we’ve been to
the bottom of the sea. They also made deep ocean crafts, wrote and performed their
own “ocean carols” at Bailey’s General Store, and surfed every day.
The two-week camp session ended with Sanibel Sea School’s annual New Year’s Day
tradition, Give Your Troubles to the Sea. On January 1, campers and staff write down
their worries from the year before, burn them in a bonfire, then sprinkle the ashes in
continued on page 28
A boat excursion with Sanibel Sea School
photo by Klaus
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