The bobcat is a North American predator that is considered to have derived from the Eurasian lynx years ago. The Latin name for this feline is Lynx rufus, and it is a close cousin to the Canadian Lynx. It is the smallest of the four members of the lynx family. There are 12 different subspecies within the bobcat species.
Bobcat Facts and Description
The bobcat is a tawny red to gray black carnivorous feline with darker spots across its coat of fur. The underside is usually paler varying from light tan to almost white. The colors combined with the spots and stripes help the bobcat blend into its environment. It generally measures between 2 1/2 to 4 feet in length and will generally weigh between 15 to 30 pounds.
The for on the face creates kind of a ruff peppered with darker spots and stripes. The head is topped with pointed ears that are also darker in color. The whiskers also look rather similar to its domestic feline cousin. Although it has several characteristics that are similar to the domestic feline, the domestic cats are approximately half the size.
The stubby tail is colored with darker stripes versus spots, but the tail is short and stubby. The stubby tail is where the name is derived from.
Bobcat Eating Habits
The bobcat stalks its prey like other predator felines. The most common prey includes rabbits and hares, however it will also go after quail and other ground-based birds. It is possible for a bobcat to kill a small deer, however this is more rare. It will more likely eat reptiles, rodents, insects, or roadkill and domestic animals if it has access.
The Bobcat will leverage grasses, bushes and other camouflage to sneak up on its prey. It likes to get close enough where it can pounce and capture its victim immediately.
Mating & Reproduction
Bobcats are typically solitary animals except for during the mating season. Mating season usually occurs in the early spring. They typically give birth to a litter of 2 or 3 Cubs. The gestational period is approximately 2 months. The baby bobcats are born with a fair amount of fur which is already speckled with spots and stripes.
Family and Social Characteristics
The bobcat usually lives alone apart from the mating season noted above. It is a territorial predator, however it is possible that neighboring bobcats will have overlapping areas. Claw markings, sprayed urine, and feces are all used to mark the territory of a particular feline.
These cats are isolated most of the time. They hunt and move late in the afternoon through late at night and then again near the morning sunrise for another three to four hours.
FAQs and Unique Characteristics
What is the difference between a bobcat and a lynx? One of the primary differences is that a lynx has a shorter tail which as a black tip both above and below. The Bobcat also has more distinctive spots.
Does the Bobcat roar like a lion or other predator felines? It actually sounds more like a domestic cat with its purr. However, the scream during the mating season is much more piercing.
The Bobcat is fairly adaptive to differing environments however it typically will be found in deserts, forests, swamps, and scrub areas. It is actually found in many areas across North America with varying altitudes. Its cousin the lynx is more common in the upper altitudes of Northern America and Canada.
The range of the bobcat actually extends from northern Mexico, across the United States and up into Canada. Here is a breakdown of where the sub-species can be found:
- Schreber: eastern and midwestern United States
- Bangs: northern New York through Nova Scotia
- Rafinesque: southeastern United States through southwestern Missouri
- Peterson and Downing: western Great Lakes area
- Merriam: southwestern United States down to northwestern Mexico
- Means: California
- B. Anderson: Mojave Desert
- J. A. Allen: Central Mexico
- Rafinesque: Oregon, Washington and southwestern British Columbia
- Goodwin: Oaxaca
- Merriam: northwestern United States through southern Alberta, British Colombia, and Saskatchewan
- Thomas: Baja California
- Mearns: western Louisiana through Texas and Oklahoma down to Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.