Here, kitty kitty! Friendly bobcat investigates photographer

June 20, 2014, 1 p.m.
close up of wild bobcat

Photo: Jouko van der Kruijssen/MNN Flickr Group

It's not often you stumble upon a friendly bobcat while hiking...

...unless you're in the Marin Headlands in California. Here in the protected park space, the handful of bobcats that call it home have become used to the constant flow of cyclists, hikers, joggers and yes, even photographers. It takes a bit of luck to spot one but if you do, some like this young feline might stick around long enough for a short photo shoot. Bobcats are a common North American predator, found from Canada to Mexico. They're an important part of an ecosystem for helping to keep pest populations, including rabbits and rodents, in check. Their presence is a sign of a healthy, balanced habitat. So if you happen to spot one while out on a hike, smile and wave and let it be.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Google+, and Facebook.