Follow Me!

The animal kingdom is home to a spectacular variety of body coloration and markings. The intricacies and hidden messages behind the slightest differences in pattern or hue continue to intrigue scientists to this day. Biology seems to be a never-ending quest to crack the code that animals wear on their very skins!

Mountain lions and bobcats have black-tipped ears with white patches on the back sides, which at first glance are seemingly random and otherwise insignificant markings. But they actually serve quite an important purpose for these quiet, stealthy cats, who’d rather do their communicating discretely so they don’t alert flighty potential prey.

Sometimes called “follow-me spots”, these white dots set against the black fur of the backs of bobcat and mountain lion ears offer a visual aide for young kittens to lock onto while following their mothers at night. It’s also a simple way to keep little ones close without having to constantly call back and forth, which alerts any predators within earshot. These “follow-me spots” may act as an international form of communication among wild cats, because they’re found on the ears of almost all wild feline mamas.

Leave it to moms to think of everything! Well, in this case, leave it to evolution, but you get the point…

Aaron Huelsman

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