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Bobcat Facts, Information, Habitat, and Diet

The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is named for its bobbed tail. This North American cat is nocturnal and therefore rarely seen by humans.

American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of the Bobcat.

Bobcat facts, photos, information, habitat, and dietary facts

Photo by Craig O'Neal on Flickr


Bobcat Information

The bobcat is the most abundant wildcat in North America. This species has been around for more than 1.8 million years. They are medium-sized cats, about twice the size of a domestic housecat. Bobcats vary in color but are often brown or gray on top, fading to white on the belly with black spots all over. They have black pointed ears, similar to the lynx, with a white patch in the center of each ear. They also have a thin white lining on the fur around their eyes.

The most apparent difference in physical appearance between the male and female is size. Female cats are relatively smaller than the male cats, who’s average length is around 3 feet and weighs between 20-30 pounds.

Bobcats are polygamous and typically mate during late winter. After a gestation period of about 62 days, the cat gives birth to 1-6 furry kittens that already have spots. When born, the kittens are blind and weigh 10-12 ounces. The kittens nurse from their mother for 2 months. The juvenile cats leave their mother around the age of 8 to 11 months, before the mother gives birth to another litter.

Bobcat Facts

  • Female bobcats are very territorial and their ranges never overlap. However, male cats may overlap ranges.
  • A male’s territory is usually approximately 30 square miles. A female’s territory is approximately 5 square miles.
  • Bobcats are predators.
  • Bobcats mainly target rabbits.
  • A bobcat captures its prey by stalking it then pouncing on it.
  • Bobcats may have more than one den.
  • A litter size is 1-6 kittens.
  • The kittens are born between April and May.
  • Bobcats are solitary animals.
  • Bobcats are crepuscular- meaning they are most active during twilight (dawn and dusk).
  • Bobcats typically live 12-13 years.
  • Males do not play a role in raising the kittens.
  • In the early 1970’s, bobcat populations in many Midwestern and eastern states were decimated because of the increased value of fur. Regulations have been put in place since then to better protect this species. Today, populations are stable.
  • In many states, the harvested bobcat or its pelt must be registered or tagged at the Conservation Department before selling, tanning, or mounting it.
  • Oftentimes, a bobcat can be mistaken for a mountain lion.
  • Bobcats are able to jump as high as 12 feet.
  • The top speed of a bobcat is 34 mph.
  • Predators of the bobcat include cougars and wolves. The kittens are preyed upon by coyotes and owls.
  • Bobcats rarely attack people. They are easily spooked by humans, so if one attacks, it may have rabies.

Bobcat Habitat

The range of a bobcat includes the entire continental U.S., from southern Canada to northern Mexico. They inhabit places with dense vegetation and plenty of prey. Bobcats live in dens, which can be in a tree truck, cave, brush pile, or fallen tree.

What Do Bobcats Eat?

Bobcats are carnivorous. Their food of choice is rabbits, although they will also eat rodents, insects, birds, chickens, and even deer! The bobcat will sneak up on its prey and will pounce on it, before giving it a lethal bite.

Photo by Joyce Cory on Flickr

Photo by Joyce Cory on Flickr

Photo by Linda Tanner on Flickr

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