Lynx rufusBobcat

Family

  • Felidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 10 to 20 years
  • Captivity:  20 to 30 years

Size

  • Length: 3 ½ to 4 feet
  • Weight: 13 ½ to 30 pounds

Origin

  • Southern Canada, parts of Mexico, and the United States

Habitat

  • Forests, mountain ranges, prairies

Diet

  • Wild: Rabbits, rodents, birds, and deer
  • Zoo: Ground beef with a vitamin mix, chicks, and a knucklebone once a week (for healthy teeth)

Reproduction

  • Females produce litters once every 2 years.
    • Litters consist of 1 to 4 young.
  • The kittens begin eating solid food by 2 months of age, and are hunting by the age of 5 months.

Special Adaptations

  • The bobcat has excellent camouflage.
    • Its reddish brown coat blends in with the underbrush, and the spots and stripes help break up its shape.
  • Bobcats are good swimmers and can also jump up to 12 feet in the air.

Feline Facts

  • The bobcat, like most felines, creeps up and pounces on its prey.
  • Its powerful teeth and claws are equipped for taking down prey swiftly.
  • Felines patrol a specific area of territory; in the case of the bobcat, that territory may be up to 40 square miles.
  • The bobcat is crepuscular, meaning it hunts and is most active in the hours before sunrise and at twilight.
  • Felines have scent glands under their cheeks and will rub on territory boundaries to mark them.
  • Many cats will claw trees at the border of their territories to let others know it is claimed.

Unique Characteristics

  • The bobcat gets its name from its stumpy tail.
  • Bobcats have a burrow or den in which it lives and raises its litter.
  • Male bobcats are unusual among cat species because they bring food to the mother and kittens in the den.
  • Bobcats look similar to their northern cousin, the Lynx, but can be told apart by their tails.  Bobcat tails have a black tip on the end while the Lynx will have a white tip.  Their range and other differences distinguish them as well.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Bobcats have been labeled as sheep predators in Mexico, and are frequently killed by farmers.
  • They are also hunted and trapped for their fur and due to habitat destruction and the ever-expanding human population, their numbers have decreased.
  • However, since the 1970s, the bobcat population in the United States has increased due to protection laws.

 Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org

Bobcat rubbing on scent