Bobcat - Lynx rufusBy: C.M.Shorter
are Survivors! This animal once inhabited every type of
terrain throughout its territory range and is one of the
most successful of all wild cat species. They are one of
four Lynx sub-species with a stable population remaining
in western North America, southern Canada and Mexico. Previous
territory once spanned the entire United States. Their
fur is soft, dense light gray in color to reddish brown
with the pelt being darker along the back with a white
underside which is usually spotted. The Bobcat does have
a "bobbed" tail perhaps an evolutionary adaptation
to extreme cold conditions. Ears are large, somewhat like
the elongated ears and tufts like our Caracals
as radar and noise buffers. Their ear tufts are much smaller
than that of their cousin, the Canadian Lynx
as is the
ruff framing their face. Our Bobcat has a sturdy, muscular
build with hind legs slightly longer than their forelegs.
This is one handsome animal with piercing yellow-brown
Their outstanding feature is their beautiful
fur coat. It is so lush and beautiful this animal was hunted
and harvested for the fur trade in untold numbers. Today they
have a reduced range and are not
suited to survive in the cold northern Canadian climate. The
Bobcat has been virtually eliminated from much of the mid-western
United States due to this type of hunting. In the past 20 years,
the Bobcat has been the most heavily harvested and traded species
of any cat. More than half of the world's legal fur trade resulted
in pelt taken from the North American Bobcat and Lynx. As with
so many of our Wild Cats, their territory has diminished significantly
as a direct result of human expansion and the subsequent loss
The Bobcat is one tough Wild Cat! They are
very secretive and adapt well to human disturbances adapting
well to altered
habitat. They hunt by day or night, opportunistic in every
way when it comes to their next meal! They survive taking prey
such as small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, and domestic livestock.
Despite their small size they
are effective hunting the larger ungulates, especially deer
which are usually killed when resting. Mainly a ground dweller,
they are capable of climbing trees with ease and are known
to be excellent swimmers. The largest
of all Bobcats is found in Canada and the smallest make their
home in Mexico.
Primarily a solitary Wild Cat territories do overlap with
males establishing ranges overlapping those of several females.
Female ranges are more exclusive and territory specific. At
maturity, young female Bobcats are known to seek a territory
range close to their mothers. Bobcats are kept in high numbers
in captivity. Captive breeding has a low success as they do
not rear young well in these artificial type environments.
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Scientific Name: Bobcat, Lynx rufus
Sub-Species Classification: Lynx belong to the family Felis.
Classification and territory range:
Canadian Lynx as Lynx canadensis (Northern North America & Canada)
Spanish Lynx or Spotted Lynx as Lynx pardinus (Southern Eurasia)
Bobcat as Lynx rufus (Small Lynx of North America & Canada)
Eurasian Lynx as Lynx lynx (Northern Eurasia)
Common Name(s): Bobcat, Red Lynx, Bay Lynx, Wildcat
Range: Southern Canada, Western USA, Mexico
Average Weight: 6 - 13 kg (14 - 30 lbs)
Length: 75 - 124 cm (30 - 50") Short "Bobbed" Tail (7-12")
Diet: Carnivorous. Small mammals - mice, rabbits & hares, birds, carrion,
eggs, frogs, reptiles and small domestic livestock. May take young wild ungulates.
Gestation Period: 50 - 70 Days. Eyes open at 8-9 days. Nursing for 3-4 months
with the mother taking them along for their first hunting lesson at the age of
Cub Maturity: 12 - 24 Months
Cubs Per Litter: 1 - 6 Kittens (usually 2 -4 kits)
Lifespan: 12-13 years in the wild. Large number maintained in Zoos with poor
reproduction ratios due to their inability to adapt to these man-made environments
being shy, secretive animals. Recorded to live over 30 years in captivity.
Predators: Man - Heavily hunted and harvested for the fur trade.
Social Structure: Solitary. Breeding: Males multiple mates, Females are Monestrous
(single male mate).
Territory Size: Prey abundance regulates density. Territory varies from 1 to
7 Bobcats per square mile.
Conservation Status: CITES Appendix II. Protected in only 10 of the United States,
regulated hunting and trade in Canada. In Mexico hunting is regulated but shooting
of livestock predators is permitted.