Bobcat, Lynx Rufus


Bobcat, Lynx Rufus

What does it look like?

Bobcats’ reddish brown coats are typically striped and spotted with black, providing an excellent camouflage.

Other characteristics:

1. Facial tufts or “sideburns” and ear tufts may aid their keen hearing.

2. Average shoulder height is 20 to 24 inches.

3. Average length is between 25 to 42 inches.

4. Males can weigh from 20 to 30 pounds and, somewhat smaller, females weigh 15 to 20 pounds.

5. The name comes from their stumpy 4-to-6 inch tails, and their bobbing gait.


Where in the world?

Found extensively throughout North America from southern Mexico to Canada, the farther north bobcats live the bigger they grow. The largest are found in Canada. Adaptable, bobcats live in a variety of habitats from mountain ranges to prairies, and from subtropical swamps to deserts.

What does it eat?

Rabbits and hares make up two-thirds of bobcat’s diet, however, they will also consume small rodents and birds. During a night-long hunt, bobcats may travel up to 25 miles. Although a nocturnal hunter, bobcats are also active at dawn and dusk. In the northern part of their range, bobcats will hunt by day during winter if food is scare.

What are some characteristics and behavior?

Extremely territorial, bobcats mark their boundaries with urine and droppings as well as by digging up the ground. Male bobcats may defend territories of up to 40 square miles, although they may share common boundaries with other males.

Bobcats are good swimmers, but rarely go into the water. However, on hot days, they may sit in pools of water to keep cool. Black and white ear spots may be used as communication or identification, but experts’ opinions vary as to their purpose.

What about offspring?

Mating takes place in winter and a male mates with two or three females that share his territory. Females are thought to give birth every other year. Average gestation is 60 days with a litter size of 1 to 5 kittens. Kittens are born with their eyes closed, opening after about 7 days. Once kittens can eat solid food, at about 8 weeks, the male is allowed to return to the den. The young stay with their mother for six to nine months, or until the next breeding season.

Is it threatened or endangered?

No, not at the present time.


Officially, the Ulysses received a certificate of adoption for the Bobcat, valid from March 2002 to March 2003. The ship is essentially contributing to the species, not an individual cat, but we’ve decided to name our bobcat, Bob. It’s not original but it fits!
In addition to the certificate, the Ulysses’ name is also on the public notice board displayed in the entrance to The Living Desert where all the names of adoptive parents are listed. Briefly, we would like to stress that, although the Bobcat is small and beautiful, it is not meant to be kept as a pet, no matter how “cute” it appears to be. They are a truly wild species. Thank you for visiting!

Information on the Bobcat and pictures are courtesy of The Living Desert website.