DES MOINES COUNTY, Iowa (KWQC) – Jimmy Swafford was expecting to perhaps catch a racoon when he recently set out traps on his land north of Mediapolis, Iowa.
Instead, he captured two creatures few of us will ever see up close: Bobcat kittens.
“Catching two bobcats in the same trap totally caught him off guard,” says Patty Swafford, Jimmy’s wife who shot video of the event and shared it with KWQC.
“They do resemble common house cats, but the feet are much larger, legs are longer,” Patty says. “We were unable to photograph the mother, however she stayed near the trap where her babies were.”
The Swaffords released both kittens so they could reunite with mom.
Their remarkable home video shows the juvenile cats pawing aggressively at the cage just before the Swaffords released them.
“Truthfully, we were cautious freeing them as momma was close as well, the first released cat headed to the right near mom but the second one didn’t follow as we expected,” Patty says.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says only a few decades ago bobcats were almost “wiped out” in Iowa and were listed as endangered in 1977.
However, in recent years the bobcat has made a comeback in southern Iowa and is now classified as a protected species that may be hunted in limited numbers in certain Iowa counties.
“It’s still not common to see one, as they’re a pretty secretive bunch,” the Iowa DNR reports on its website.
The Swaffords say releasing their catch was the only option, especially since the two are juveniles.
It was a moment neither will forget.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Patty says.