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The Wild- Bobcat

February 13, 2022 3 min read

The Wild- Bobcat

Lynx rufus, the bobcat, is a medium-sized cat of the family Felidae. Bob cat is native to America and is also known as red lynx; and there are at least 12 recognized subspecies of bobcats. Bobcats have an extraordinary sense of smell, vision and hearing.

Bobcat gets its name due to the small black-tipped “bobbed” tail. Sometimes they are also called wildcats.

How Bobcats Differ from Other Members of Family Felidae:

  • Bobcats are smaller than Canadian lynx but are twice as big as the house cat.
  • Bobcats have ear tufts, but they are smaller from Canadian lynx while still larger than the household cats. Bobcats have a ruff of dense fur around their face.
  • Bobcats are darker in body color as compared to other lynx members. Bobcats have spotted camouflage patterns.
  • Bobcats have long legs large paws as compared to simple cats.
  • Unlike pet cats bobcats are good swimmers.

General Characteristics of Bobcats:

Body coat Color:

The coat color may vary according to their presence in certain regions, as in desert regions, the coat color is lighter, while in forest regions, they have darker coats. 

The body is primarily reddish-brown to grayish-beige. They also have darker bars or strips over the forelegs, tail and body

Body Size:

Bobcats are smaller than other members of the lynx family and have a body size of almost 100cm.

Body Weight:

Male bobcats being heavier, have a body weight of about 16kg while females are 13kg. Therefore, at the time of birth, the kitten only weighs 340g.

Eyes:

The eyes of bobcats are yellow with black round large pupils. The pupil widens, which help them during night vision.

Claws:

Bobcats have retractile claws, and their marks can easily be identified as they have no claw marks and have four toe and roundish paw patterns.

Bobcats can make great strides, and tracks can be distinguished from other cats tracks due to their larger size as tracks are spaced by 20 to 45 cm distance. They can run at the speed of 34 mph.

Teeth:

As carnivorous mammals, bobcats have well-developed jaws and strong 28 teeth, four canines, four molars, eight premolars, and twelve incisors. 

Tail:

Bobcat tails are very small, black with white tips, and can only grow to 15 cm. The tail appears to be cut, which gives them the name bobcats.

Habitat and Distribution of Bobcats:

Mountainous forests, Rugged terrain, suburban areas, caves, coniferous forests, swamps, deserts are the most preferred habitats of bobcats. Bobcats are adapted to different habitats, and some factors control their distribution to specific areas; these factors are

  • Population of prey
  • Weather
  • Dense cover for hunting and escape
  • Availability of resting and den sites

They are widely distributed in southern Mexico, North America, Southern Canada

Diet of Bobcat:

Bobcats are opportunistic predators and hunt small animals, reptiles, birds; they can hunt bigger animals, they make deathblows with a leaping stroke of about 10 feet. They can survive periods of food shortage, and their diet includes,

  • Mice
  • Squirrels
  • Fishes
  • Birds
  • Geese
  • Ducks
  • Raccoons
  • Small dogs
  • Pigs
  • Deer
  • Moles
  • Sheep
  • Rabbits
  • Hares
  • Goats

Predators and Threats of Bobcats:

Adult bobcats have very few predators, while the kittens are preyed on by many predators. 

  • Coyotes
  • Grey wolves
  • Foxes
  • Cougars
  • Owl
  • Alligators
  • Golden eagles
  • Bears

Humans, hunters, starvation, disease, parasites, accidents are also a great threat.

Reproduction of Bobcats:

Bobcats are territorial animals, and they mark their territories span out up to 30 square miles in case of males and about 4 square miles for females.

February and March is the mating season, and after the 8 – 10 weeks gestation period, bobcats produce about six kittens in April and May, kittens that are blind at birth and feed on mother milk. 

Bobcats exhibit different behaviors during their mating season; they bump, chase, ambush and make specific calls such as screaming and hissing. Bobcat's eerie scream can be heard for miles. The average life span is 10 to 15 years.

Hunting Bobcats:

Being crepuscular, bobcats are nocturnal, and you have to understand when and how to hunt them. 

When to Hunt bobcats:

The best time for bobcat hunting is dusk and dawn, as it is their feeding time and they are active. 

How to Hunt bobcats:

There are two methods of hunting bobcats, and these are,

  • Scouting
  • Calling

Some Tips:

  • Look for the bobcat tracks in the fresh snow, and you can easily chase a perfect hunt.
  • Place your setup in a spot close to dense cover and have good visibility.
  • Stand never sit with your bag placed along the tree side.
  • Bobcats have good vision, so choose camo hunting apparels.

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