By Andrhea Massey –
It’s a mysterious shadow, a rustle in the bushes, a flash of glowing eyes. It’s a legend, a sign of good luck. It’s more revered by some students than the actual Rocky Mountain College mascot. If you see it during finals week, you’re almost guaranteed an A+. If you see it at all, you’re blessed, honored, graced by its presence. It is the legendary RMC Bobcat, named Rufus from the Latin name for bobcat, Lynx Rufus.
No one knows where it comes from or where it goes, but every once in awhile it shows itself as a flash of fur across The Green. If you look for it, you won’t see it. Environmental students are currently entertaining the idea of capturing the legend on camera, figuring out where it comes from, and why it comes to RMC. Bobcats have gray to brown fur, black tufted ears, and are usually about twice as large as a house cat. It has black bars on its front legs and a short, black tipped tail. Bobcats are also crepuscular, which means they are active about three hours before sunset until midnight and then again before dawn until about three hours after sunrise. They have been found to move between 2 – 7 miles each night, and their behavior may change with the seasons, as bobcats are more diurnal (active during the day) in fall and winter.
According to “The Wild Cat Book,” a new book in the RMC Library written by Fiona and Mel Sunquist, “Bobcats are generalists, both in their habitat and diet.” This means that they aren’t picky about where they live or what they eat, allowing them to adapt to many different habitats – possibly including a college campus. “Capturing an image is important because we need physical proof for proper identification,” says Sierra Wilson, a senior in the environmental science program. Without proper identification, no one can be sure that Rufus is indeed a bobcat, and not just a huge wandering house cat. “It’s interesting that a bobcat is living in the city of Billings and has been able to survive in such a different environment than it normally would be in. Although I’ve seen it before, I’m looking forward to seeing a picture and identifying it for sure,” says Noah Oloff, a junior environmental science major. Hopefully sometime in the coming months we can be sure of Rufus’s identity. Be sure to keep an eye out for the legend of RMC.