The human population has grown to an all-time high of 7.5 billion. We inhabit every corner of the planet, but there still are wild areas ...

happyworld - Man’s Nerves Understandably Freeze When He Sees This On His Porch happyworld -  Man’s Nerves Understandably Freeze When He Sees This On His Porch

happyworld - Man’s Nerves Understandably Freeze When He Sees This On His Porch

happyworld - Man’s Nerves Understandably Freeze When He Sees This On His Porch

    The human population has grown to an all-time high of 7.5 billion. We inhabit every corner of the planet, but there still are wild areas where animals dominate. In these untamed spots, wildlife is diverse and abundant. Even in some cities near the wilderness, humans and animals can bump into one another. Still, it’s a shock to find some of nature’s wildest creatures knocking on your door, and that’s just what happened recently to one man.

    “Wilderness” is usually defined as an uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable area of land. The root of the word comes from Old English for “land inhabited by wild animals.” You get the picture: dense forests, barren icy landscapes, vast deserts, nonexistent wifi and horrible cell phone coverage. About 23 percent of the earth is considered wilderness. This has shrunk from close to 50 percent of the globe a few decades ago due to development of once-wild areas. But, even the wild areas aren’t all barren wastelands.

    An example of a particularly lush wilderness is the Taiga, which is the dense boreal forest wilderness that stretches completely around the northern hemisphere in a band. It is present in vast areas of Russia, Northern Japan, Scandinavia and other areas near the Arctic Circle, but it also makes up the forests of Canada and parts of the northern United States. In fact, the largest of the 50 states is almost entirely within the Taiga.

    Flickr / Richard Martin
    The Taiga covers most of Alaska, the largest and northernmost state. The boreal forests trail deep into the vast state. Pine trees, spruces, hemlocks and cedars spread out over 10.9 million acres. The biome of the Taiga is cold and inhospitable to much plant life, so these “needle leaf” trees dominate, along with some lichens and mosses. Summers can be as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, with winters registering temperatures as low as -65 degrees Fahrenheit. But even in these extreme conditions, vivid wildlife can thrive.

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    We often think of Alaska as perennially blanketed in snow, like a barren tundra. Although there is a lot of snow in winter months, much of the state, including its southernmost coastal areas, can have milder climates where the forests host majestic animals. Alaska is home to 32 different carnivore species, which is the most of any state.These include brown bears, wolves, wolverines, and coyotes. And one particular beast that has a familiar look to it.
    The Canadian lynx is a close relative to the domestic house cat. It is a medium-sized, primarily nocturnal cat that preys on smaller animals, such as mice. Its eyesight is so strong that it can spot a mouse from 250 feet. It is similar in size to the bobcat and is present all over North America, with large populations in the northern United States, Canada and Alaska. They typically are solitary animals, but also can live in family groups when the cubs are young.

    Flickr / David Cartier, Sr.
    The Canadian Lynx family structure is evident with its strong mother-offspring bond. Once fully grown, however, these cats become solitary and fend for themselves in hunting and establishing their territory. Males will become social during mating seasons, and females will hunt in packs with their young, but the animal’s life is mostly defined by solo hunting their prized prey, the snowshoe hare. And they will follow wherever the hares migrate, including into areas of human population.

    Flickr / Frank Kovalcheck
    If a lynx decided to follow a snowshoe hare down through its rabbit hole, it might end up in a different Taiga neighborhood. The Taiga extends to populous coastal areas of Alaska, such as Anchorage, its largest city, and the focus of most human activity in Alaska. Anchorage has a relatively large population of about 300,000 residents, but once you leave city center, the town is anything but urban. One man found out just how wild Anchorage can get.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    When you live in Alaska, you come to expect some wild in your life. Moose are often spotted on Main Street, bald eagles swarm the harbors, and the howling of wolves can be heard on many nights. But Tim Newton never expected to have a close encounter on his back porch. On a recent early morning, he was awoken by noise on his back deck. Tim was startled when he peeked out the window to see the small furry face of a lynx kitten. That’s when he sprung into action.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    Tim is a nature photographer and immediately realized that he had to document the kitten. He captures images of life in Anchorage and the surrounding wild. His Facebook page and official website at showcase breathtaking images of eagles, bears, moose, and pristine Alaskan landscapes. He knew that lynxes often hunt in a loop, following their usual snowshoe hare prey wherever they may migrate. And he also knew that he might be able to catch something very special on film.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    If there was one kitten, Tim figured there would be a bunch more – and he was right. He started filming what ended up being seven playful kittens romping in the snow just outside his back door. A lynx became curious about what was going on inside the house, too. In the video posted online, one of the kittens repeatedly visits the back door. Although that one cat kept peering in the window, the others were busy playing with each other in quite the spectacle.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    Rollicking like kittens in a litter, the baby lynxes slid in the snow, chased each other and wrestled, all while Tim filmed from his home. The kittens flopped around with their oversized paws and lopsided legs, clumsily bumping into one another while enjoying the slippery deck surface. One kitten would chase another onto a table, while a timid one hid underneath beside the deck chairs. But how the cameraman edited the footage is a big part of the thrill.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    On the video, the visit looks like a Friday Night Smackdown cage match, with juvenile lynxes launching themselves off of patio furniture onto unsuspecting brothers and sisters below. captions one of the scenes as “The Battle Of Snowshoe.” The wrestling mania continued for several minutes, with numerous battles and glorious displays of feline athleticism. The little lynx kids enjoyed their romp until an ultimate authority figure descended on the scene like a video game level boss.

    Facebook/ Tim Newton Photography
    The kittens seemed to scamper off in a rush. Then, Tim heard a different sound that would make the little family more complete – a mewing sound that was like a call for the kittens to line up. The lynxes’ mother appeared and called them to her side, and they all dutifully lined up. Clearly a doting mom, the larger lynx commanded respect and the kittens’ attention, but she wasn’t above having fun on Tim’s porch as well.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    Momma lynx joined in the fun, rolling around with some of her kittens as they enjoyed the snow-covered deck for about a total of 40 minutes. In the video, she can be seen patrolling around the deck perimeter while the kittens continue playing. She takes a few peeks into the house to see what’s going on with the cameraman, but she doesn’t seem threatened in the slightest. Maybe that’s because she might feel pretty comfortable in Tim’s backyard.

    Facebook / Tim Newton Photography
    Although this was the first time the lynxes came up on Tim’s deck, he had photographed the mother and some of her kittens a few months’ earlier before the snow arrived. That time, Tim documented their visit with still photography. Only four kittens were in view, but they still had a good time at a distance from the house. His site has multiple images of the lynxes lounging on the lawn, with bright green grass providing a dramatic backdrop for the furry visitors. No word on when the lynx family will next visit, but it seems the next logical step is an invite inside for a nice Alaskan breakfast. Stay tuned!

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