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Classification and Evolution

Are Bobcats Dangerous - Bobcats
Bobcats are medium-sized animals that live in a variety of habitats.

© Victor Arita/

The bobcat is a medium-sized animal found in a variety of habitats in the southern half of North America.

They are widespread and adaptable carnivores closely related to the larger and more northerly-dwelling Canadian lynx, the biggest difference being that the bobcat has only a small "snob" tail, hence the name.

About twice the size of a domestic cat, bobcats have the largest range of all North American cats, but their mysterious nature means they are rarely seen.

There are currently 12 recognized subspecies of lynx that vary in coloration and geographic range, with individuals found in mountain forests being darker and more spotted than their lighter-colored cousins found in more arid, semi-desert regions.

Different Types of Bobcats

There are 13 subspecies of lynx, but only two have been identified: Lynx rufus rufus (Eastern and Midwestern United States) and Lynx rufus fasciatus (Western Great Plains).

  • Lr Rufus
  • Lr fascia muscle

In addition, there are 13 subspecies:

  • lynx
  • lynx
  • lynx
  • lynx
  • lynx
  • bobcat rufus texensis
  • leon
  • lynx
  • lynx
  • bobcat rufus peninsularis
  • lynx
  • lynx

anatomy and appearance

bobcat - wild bobcat
Since bobcats and bobcats belong to the same family.

©Vaclav Sebek/

Since bobcats belong to the same family as bobcats, the animals are similar in appearance but not identical. Bobcats are smaller in size, have smaller feet and ear fur than Canadian bobcats, and are often darker in color.

Bobcats have beige to brown or reddish fur that can be spotted or blotched in intensity depending on the individual and where they live (lybcats found in more open, drier areas tend to be more fertile than those found in dense cover less markings).

Bobcats have a white underside so the darker spots are more visible, and they also have a short black tail with a white tip, which is only about 15cm long.

Like the larger lynx, the lynx's ear hair is thought to enhance its hearing, and it also has a longer fringe of hair around its face.

Distribution and Habitat

Arkansas bobcats can be found in woodlands.

©Karyn Honor/

The lynx is the most widespread of all North American cats, being found throughout North America from southern Canada to southern Mexico. They are very versatile animals that have adapted to living in a variety of different habitats in three different countries.

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Although bobcats are known to prefer rocky slopes rich in vegetation, they are found in many different habitats throughout their natural range, including montane woodlands, coniferous forests, swamps, deserts, and even in some places suburbs.

The exact appearance of a bobcat depends on the type of habitat it is in, as varying coat colors allow the individual to remain as camouflaged as possible in its surroundings.

The bobcat's historic range once extended throughout North America, but hunting for their fur and loss of their natural habitat has led to their disappearance in some areas.

Behavior and Lifestyle

what eats snakes
Bobcats are solitary nocturnal animals that are most active in the dark.

© Pitcher

Bobcats are solitary nocturnal animals that are most active in the dark of night and tend to prey most at dawn and dusk. During the day, bobcats sleep and rest in dens in the form of rock crevices or hollow trees, and an individual has multiple dens within its range of activity.

Bobcats are very territorial animals, marking their range with urine and feces scents and distinctive paw prints in trees to alert others of their presence.

Males patrol a wide range, often overlapping territories of many smaller females, but the two do not interact until the winter breeding season begins.

At other times of the year, though, the Bobcats tend to avoid each other to reduce their chances of getting injured in battle.

You can check out some incredible facts about bobcats.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Lynx, a mother with a young baby, Minnesota, USA

©Bildagentur Zonar GmbH/

Bobcats can only be found together during the breeding season, when both males and females can mate with multiple partners, and after a gestation period lasting 8 to 10 weeks, the female will produce a litter of multiples in a safe and secure environment Secluded den for up to 6 kittens

Bobcat kittens are born blind, open their eyes after about 10 days, and feed on their mother's milk until they are old enough to start eating meat.

Most births occur in late winter or early spring, and bobcat kittens usually stay with their mothers until the following winter, when they are about eight months old and have learned how to hunt independently. Female bobcats tend to produce only one litter per year, and after mating, the male bobcats are no longer involved in raising the young.

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diet and prey

The bobcat is a carnivorous cat, which means it only preys on other animals.

The lynx is a carnivorous cat, which means it only hunts and eats other animals for the nutrients it needs to survive. Bobcats prey primarily on small mammals such as rabbits, hares, and mice, as well as birds and the occasional lizard near the ground.

They are also known to hunt large game including deer during the harsh winter months, and will also feed on fresh carrion.

The lynx is an elusive predator that stalks its prey silently in the dark, then pounces on it with astonishing force. Despite their massive size, bobcats have been known to kill animals much larger than themselves.

Bobcats also occasionally prey on domestic animals such as poultry and sheep in areas where growing human settlements have encroached on their natural habitat.

For a complete list of foods bobcats eat, check out our "What do bobcats eat?" page.

Predators and Threats

The Bobcats are predators, only the Cougars and Wolves need to watch out.

© Fijetland, Conrad – Public Domain, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The bobcat is a ferocious and dominant predator in its natural habitat as an adult bobcat, and as such, is rarely threatened by animals, their greatest fears being cougars and wolves.

However, small and fragile bobcat kittens are preyed on by many predators, including coyotes and owls, which are able to prey on kittens when their mothers are out hunting.

The greatest threat to North American bobcat populations is the near-extinction of the people who previously hunted bobcats in some areas for their soft fur. In areas where bobcats are now forced to share their natural range with increasing numbers of people, they are also being hunted by farmers worried about their livestock.

Although they are highly adaptable animals, bobcats are also threatened by habitat loss as their populations are pushed into smaller, more isolated areas within their once vast natural range.

Interesting Facts and Features

Bobcats are also known as red bobcats because the two are very similar in appearance, but bobcats tend to be darker and richer in color than their northern relatives.

They are remarkably stealthy and powerful animals, capable of swooping down on prey from as far as three meters away before delivering a fatal bite, allowing bobcats to also hunt animals that may be twice their size.

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While bobcats are generally quiet and not very vocal, their violent roars and growls when hiding often lead people to believe there are mountain lions in the area.

relationship with humans

Bobcats have historically dominated a variety of habitats in North America, and bobcats are known across the continent with roots in Native American folklore and stories of the first European settlers of the northern United States and Canada.

However, the beauty, softness, and density of the bobcat's fur led to an increase in the value of its pelt, so hunting of the bobcat from the early to mid-1900s led to a complete decline in populations, especially in the Midwestern and Eastern United States.

Although they are now internationally protected, bobcat hunting continues in some areas, especially the most populous.

They are also considered a pest by farmers who hunt bobcats to protect their livestock, especially in Mexico, which has led to the Mexican lynx being listed as an endangered species.

Protect the status quo and life today

Today, the lynx is listed by the IUCN as an animal of least concern to become extinct in its native environment in the near future.

Since international conservation of the bobcat ended the widespread fur trade in the 1970s, bobcat populations have been able to recover and remain stable throughout most of their natural range.

However, populations are still declining due to hunting and habitat loss in areas of increasing human activity.

There are an estimated 800,000 to 1,200,000 bobcats left in the wild in North America.

See all 280 animals that start with B

Bobcats are carnivores, which means they eat other animals.

Bobcats belong to the animal kingdom.

Bobcats belong to the class Mammalia.

Bobcats belong to the phylum Chordate.

Bobcats belong to the cat family.

Bobcats belong to the order Carnivora.

Bobcats are covered with fur.

Bobcats belong to the genus Lynx.

Bobcats live in North America.

Bobcats live in mountain forests, swamps and deserts.

Predators of bobcats include mountain lions, wolves and coyotes.

Bobcats have an average of 3 babies.

The bobcat's scientific name is Lynx rufus.

Bobcats can live 12 to 15 years.

Small bobcats are called kittens.

There are 12 species of bobcats.

The biggest threats to bobcats are hunting and habitat loss.

Bobcats are also known as red bobcats or wild cats.

There are 1,000,000 bobcats left in the world.

Bobcats can travel as fast as 34 miles per hour.