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Bobcat - Lynx rufus

Bobcat Characteristics
Life Cycle


 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Mammalia
 Order: Carnivora
 Family: Felidae
 Genus: Lynx


ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least Concern Least Concern  
BobcatThe bobcat is brown with black spots. Its fur may be grayer in winter. It has large ears with slight tufts of hair at the tips. It has a striped ruff of fur on its cheeks and a short tail with a black tip. It gets its name from its short or bobbed tail. The bobcat is about two feet tall from its shoulders to its feet. It weighs between 20 and 30 pounds. The bobcat has excellent eyesight and hearing.


mapThe bobcat is found in all of the United States, except for parts of the midwest. It is also found in Canada and Mexico.

In New Hampshire, the bobcat population probably numbers in the hundreds. It is the only large cat species still found in any significant numbers in the state. The mountain lion was found in New Hampshire until the late 1800s and the Canada lynx was present in the northern part of the state until the 1950s, although there have been some sightings of the lynx in the White Mountains.


BobcatThe bobcat lives in a wide variety of habitats including forests, deserts, mountains, swamps and farmland. It lives in dens in a rock or tree crevice.


BobcatThe bobcats is primarily nocturnal. It does most of its hunting at night. The bobcat is a carnivore and eats a wide variety of small mammals like woodchucks, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, moles and squirrels. It also eats birds and reptiles. One of the most common prey of the bobcat is the cotton-tail rabbit. Occasionally the bobcat will kill larger prey like deer.

BobcatWith small prey, the bobcat waits motionless and then pounces. The bobcat stalks midsize prey and then pounces on it, grabbing its neck and cutting its spinal cord. If it hunts large prey like deer, it looks for them while they are bedded down. It eats small animals when it kills them. When it catches larger prey, it will eat some and store the rest to eat later.

  Life Cycle

BobcatThe bobcat mates between February and March. In late April or early May, the female gives birth to a litter of between one and seven kittens.

Most litters have two to four kittens. The kittens are born with their eyes closed. After ten days their eyes will open. The kittens are weaned after about 10 weeks. The kittens stay with their mother for about a year.

BobcatBobcats are solitary animals. They mark their territory or homerange with urine, feces, scent markings, scratches and scrapes (piles of dirt and debris marked with scent). A male's homerange may overlap with the homerange of a couple of females and often another male. Females' homeranges usually don't overlap. Homeranges can vary in size from less than a square mile to more than 20 miles depending on the season of the year and the geographic location.

BobcatBobcats are good swimmers and tree climbers, although they usually don't spend much time in trees. During the day, they prefer to rest on rocky ledges in a thicket.

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