The Bobcat (Lynx rufus, or Felis rufus) is a small wild cat indigenous to North America. They have reddish-brown or yellowish-brown coats that are streaked with black or dark brown and have prominent, pointed ears with a tuft of black hair at the tip. more...
They have white underparts. They are named for their short or "bobbed" tail. Bobcats stand approximately 25–30 cm (10–12 inches) high at the shoulder. The male Bobcat typically weighs from 11–16 kg (24–35 lb).
Its habitat is deciduous forests and wooded areas in most of the United States and Mexico. The Bobcat can be found in a few parts of southern Canada, where its range overlaps with the habitat of the related Canada Lynx. Hybridization between wild Canada lynx and bobcat has been documented in Maine and Minnesota.
They breed in late winter or early spring and have a gestation period of about two months. A female may have one to six kittens each year. Although adapted to a variety of habitats across the country, they do not tolerate the deep snows. Bobcats move about their home ranges most actively in the hours near dawn and dusk, hunting small mammals. They seek cover in conifer stands and on rocky ledges.
Unlike the larger Canada Lynx, which they resemble, bobcats are often highly adaptable to human-caused changes in environmental conditions; some biologists believe that there are more bobcats in the United States today than in colonial times. They have vanished from parts of the midwest where most suitable habitat has been replaced by cultivated fields.
Bobcats are carnivores that typically hunt wild rabbits, hares, and rodents, but will also attempt to hunt the larger deer in winter months when other food is scarce.
- Lynx rufus rufus, northeastern USA
- Lynx rufus baileyi, southwestern USA
- Lynx rufus californicus, California, Nevada
- Lynx rufus escuinapae, central Mexico
- Lynx rufus fascinatus, British Columbia
- Lynx rufus floridianus, southeastern USA
- Lynx rufus gigas, Maine
- Lynx rufus pallescens, Rocky Mountains
- Lynx rufus peninsularis, Baja California peninsula
- Lynx rufus superiorensis, northwestern and central USA
- Lynx rufus texensis, northern Mexico, Texas
Bobcat tracks show four toes, generally without claw marks. Individual adult tracks are generally 5 cm (2 in) in size with about 25 cm between tracks in the direction of travel. Like all cats, bobcats directly register, meaning their hind prints usually fall exactly on top of their fore prints (this is not the case in the photograph in this section). Bobcat tracks can generally be distinguished from feral or house cat tracks by their size (feral cat tracks being about 3.8 cm--1.5 inches--square) and also by the indentation at the top of the bobcat's foot pad (feral cat tracks generally show a single, rounded hump at the top of the foot pad).
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