The bobcat is a species (type) of wild cat that is named after its short tail of about 14 centimeters in length – five and a half inches. It is a small to medium sized cat that weighs from a maximum of about 59 pounds (26.8 kilograms) for a male cat to as little as about 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) for a female bobcat, which is similar in weight to a domestic cat. Its normal size is about the same as a Cocker Spaniel.
Bobcat fur is thick and soft. This cat is widely hunted and trapped for its fur which is sold into the fur business. The bobcat is part of a group of similar cats called “lynx”. The others are the Canadian lynx, Eurasian lynx and Iberian lynx.
What Does The Bobcat Look Like?
The bobcat has long legs, a short tail and a small head which is framed by long hair that hangs from its cheeks. This is called a ruff. The ears are large and at the tips there are tufts of hair. On the back of the ears the fur is black with a white spot in the middle. The fur is reddish brown to grey and is spotted and streaked with a black or dark brown fur. The belly and the inside of the legs are white. The bobcat looks like the Canada lynx. The Canada lynx, though, has longer tufts on its ears and a black tip on its tail. Also the lynx lives in snowy areas and therefore has lots of hair on its feet so it can walk better in snow.
Where Do You Find The Bobcat?
The map on this page show us that that the bobcat is all over America, the south of Canada and the north and central parts of Mexico. There a “hole” in this wide area that is to the south west of the Great Lakes where there are too many people doing farming and building homes. Bobcats tend to avoid people.
What Sort Of Places Does The Bobcat Live In?
This cat has learned to live in many different types of “habitat” (types of landscape that it can call home). It lives in forests, swamps, mountains and desert type landscapes. The bobcat likes places where it can hide (where there is “dense cover”) or an area where the ground is broken and uneven as this also gives it places to hide. This sort of landscape also protects the cat from the wind and very hot or very cold temperatures.
The bobcat shares its habitat with coyotes and pumas, and, possibly, in southern Texas with the ocelot. Both pumas and coyotes can kill bobcats.
This cat is a good climber and swimmer but prefers to be on the ground. They basically live alone and hunt at dusk and dawn. Like all cats they need a high-protein diet. They eat meat and occasionally grass and fruit. They use two types of hunting (a) sitting and waiting for prey to appear and (b) moving and watching.
Although they prefer to eat rabbits and hares they will eat a wide range of prey including grasshoppers, snakes and bats, for example. Where there are lots of rabbits you are more likely to find a bobcat. What the bobcat hunts and eats depends on where he is.
The picture on the right shows a bobcat pouncing on a rodent. Rodents are pinned down by their front feet and killed by a bite to the head or top of the spine.
Bobcats sometimes attack and kill deer. The largest known deer killed by a bobcat in Vermont weighed 68 kilograms (152 pounds). Bobcats rest in trees and make dens in rocks and hollow trees.
Hunting Trapping and Numbers of Bobcat
51,419 bobcat skins were exported from (shipped out of) the United States in 2006. You can see that there are still lots of bobcats being killed for their fur. The US government says the number of bobcats is stable (neither going up nor down). The bobcat is protected under what is called CITES Appendix II. This means that trade in bobcat furs is regulated (regulated means that fur traders need permission to trade in the furs). However, there is still lots of money being made. The price of a bobcat skin is from $68 – $380 (American dollars) depending on quality. They can reach $1,275 (2012).
Another threat to bobcat numbers is that people destroy their habitat (the places where they live). This prevents the cat from living.