As evidenced by an incredible video captured in Ontario, humans are not the only members of the animal kingdom prone to screaming matches.
Couple Edward Trist and Nicole Lewis were driving down a rural road near Avery Lake when they spotted two Canada lynxes having a very loud, very tense showdown.
Excited by the chance encounter, both whipped out their phones and recorded the event, which features close-quarters stare-offs, several headbutts, and one classic feline paw swipe – all set to a cacophony of screeches and howls that sounds oddly similar to the screams of petulant children.
After the resulting footage went viral on social media, Trist spoke to Global News about their unique experience.
“We started off down this road and there were two lynx on the road and as we approached, they didn’t move which was really odd,” he told the website. “We got out and started filming it … what we caught on camera is very, very rare to catch.”
Indeed, lynx do prefer to keep to themselves. The medium-sized wild cats, found throughout the chilly boreal forests in North America, live and hunt alone once they leave their mother. Adult encounters are limited to territory disputes and, during the spring mating season, brief rendezvous between males and females.
Given the timing of this particular encounter at the tail end of the season, Luke Hunter, chief conservation officer for the wildcat conservation group Panthera, speculated to Live Science that the high tension palpable between the two reflects one or both of them being desperate to mate before the opportunity is lost.
Because male and female lynxes look the same, Hunter concedes that it’s possible the pair in the video is two males or two females, arguing over an unseen potential mate or den site for kittens, respectively, but suggests it’s more likely that the interaction reflects a not-so-smooth attempt at last-minute procreation.
“They’re sort of standing off from each other, and both are doing their best not to escalate,” he said.
“They’re both torn; they’re both conflicted. They’re both in a dangerous situation where they’re not sure of the other’s intentions. They’re both willing to maybe make a conciliatory gesture [the head butting]. But when they actually touch, that’s really scary, and they back off and nearly get into it.”
Although the version shared online only lasts about one minute, Trist told Global News that the lynxes’ cranky tête-à-tête actually went on for more than 10 minutes, and the two remained focused on each other even as Trist and Lewis pulled away and passed them in their car.
Humans are, therefore, also not the only animals who sometimes refuse to back down from arguments out of stubbornness.