Bobcat Facts For Kids

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.

Bobcat facts for kids
Bobcat facts for kids. Picture of male Bobcat (left)- Photo copyright Tory – see in large format on Flickr. Picture bottom right by Smithsonian Wild.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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.


bobcat cat pouncing
Bobcat cat pouncing on prey. Photo: © ehoyer reproduced under creative commons

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.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

28 thoughts on “Bobcat Facts For Kids”

  1. Thanks for the bobcat article, Michael. It is very informative. I think bobcats are gorgeous.
    As for Bob… I am both ashamed and terrified that he may be a Floridian.

    1. I think “Bob” is the internet menace who goes by the name “Woodsman”. If he is, he likes to shoot cats. He thinks it is fun. It is ironic that his name is “Bob” – part of the name of the bobcat.

      1. People who think that being forced to destroy destructive animals is in any way enjoyable are only projecting their own deep, dark, and disturbing psychoses.

        1. That, Bob (Woodsman), is a bizarre statement. If you want to bring into the conversation, “deep, dark, and disturbing psychoses” I think you had better inspect yours first.

        1. Michael – I don’t think you should entertain his arguments anymore. The only thing that will really piss him off is if you just delete his comments – the second you sense its him just delete. All he has in his stooopid life is getting reactions out of us – don’t give him the pleasure. He is going to die one day and the world will be slightly better for it. As long as he has fingers and internet he’ll probably search out reactions from cat lovers. He not only hates cats, he hates cat lovers. Lets hope he dies soon. I would wish him all the crappy misfortune a person could have but it sounds like he already got all of that. I honestly believe this man might have really in real life shot himself in the foot. It’s got to happen to somebody right… He will no doubt be the next winner of the Darwin awards. I think we should just leave him to it now. You could just delete everything he has ever bothered to write.

  2. Where are you Bob?Probably in the USA.
    Well let me tell you we in England fight for our wild animals as well as for our domestic pets, each and every cat is important,each and every cat only has one life just like you do.
    Why not use that life to educate those who need it instead of targeting people like Micheal who does more on behalf of ALL cats wild and tame than you will ever know.
    Look in the mirror yourself Bob and see a man who is doing NOTHING to help the situation and when there are NO cats left because you were too busy making sarcastic unjust comments at those doing SOMETHING look again and see who helped cause it.

  3. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    A brilliant article Michael telling it just as it is.
    Bob, as always it isn’t cats to blame, it’s irresponsible people who throw out un-neutered domestic cats to struggle to sutvive. Of course they breed and of course the poor creatures catch diseases and of course they take over the scarce bit of habitat left after greedy selfish uncaring ever breeding humans have taken most of it for themselves.
    Everything wrong in the animal kingdom is down to the human race, so those blaming innocent animals and talking about those who care about all cats as ‘brain damaged’ should start helping educate the ignorant instead of picking on those of us who know the wrong done by humans can only be put right by humans.
    Eventually the human race will wipe itself out and the planet return to the animals and Mother Nature and the sooner that happens the better because so many of the human race are not worth the space they take up here.

      1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        Yes Michael I hope kids read this and learn from the mistakes of previous generations and do something constructive to help all the animals of the world before it’s too late.

    1. You’re right. Humans ARE the problem. And their cats are part of the human problem. The very reason that native cat species are going extinct is due to people who love cats for pets. Got a mirror?

      1. I have a mirror and I am personally satisfied that I am doing the right thing. I would ask whether you have a mirror because what you are advocating by implication is killing feral and stray cats. What we should be doing is dealing strongly with people. Let’s focus on people. Your comments focused on cats.

        1. Oh yes. Let’s not remove all the cats that are spreading diseases to the native cats and killing them off to impending extinction. Lets focus our energies on the people that you refuse to do anything about. What a great solution! So even if you do stop people from dumping invasive diseased cats, let the rest of them continue to spread diseases and breed out of control across the planet. You’re SO smart.

          Yes, with people like you in the world, we can kiss ALL native cat species good-bye. And we’ll have YOU to thank for that!

          1. Lets focus our energies on the people that you refuse to do anything about.

            Why don’t you do something about the people who breed and damage wild cat habitat and are irresponsible cat owners? Stop trying to bully me. I have written hundreds of articles about good cat caretaking and welfare and about wild cat conservation etc.. All you can do is be rude to decent people.

            1. I already have. I tried to educate them and reason with them for 15 years. It didn’t change one thing. Just like I could waste another 15 years trying to educate and reason with you. That too would solve nothing.

              You can’t train a cat to stay on their property, but you can, in time, train cat-owners. Though it end up being a very costly lesson — for them.

              I don’t see anyone dumping cats where I live anymore. They don’t even adopt more than can be kept under lock & key 24/7. When driving through the area I don’t see even one cat on anyone’s doorsteps anymore. I always keep an eye out to see if there are more free-roaming cats that will have to be shot. And if I’ll have to leave fish-oil trails on all the roadsides again, leading right to my IR surveillance system and laser-sighted rifle.

              Leaving ANY of their invasive species cats outside in my area means certain death for that cat, their further existence can be counted in hours. You’d think everyone else could learn from this simple lesson. The quickest way to solve an unwanted animal and irresponsible pet-owner problem is to let everyone know that you will quickly and humanely destroy every last one of their unwanted, uncared-for, or unsupervised animals for them. They either grow up fast or, far more plausible, dump their animals elsewhere to become someone else’s problem.

              You just can’t be an enabler of criminally irresponsible spineless and heartless idiots — or they remain that way. (At least where you live, anyway.)

      2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        So then, it’s NOT the cat’s fault, humans domesticated them, they didn’t ask to be taken from their natural habitat and live at the mercy of whoever fate decreed they end up with and be kicked out when it didn’t suit those people to have them around any more.
        It’s NOT the fault of the responsible people who love cats for pets and care for them properly, it’s the fault of the irresponsible people who are unfit to have a cat in their care.
        It’s too easy to blame innocent creatures, give irresponsible cat owners a mirror not those of us here who truly care about all life form and do what we can to save their world.

  4. Michael hit the nail on the head with this one. We need to take control of the situation. The Sonora Desert Jaguar Projects are finding innovated ways to allow all the cats in that area and the ranchers and villagers to live in harmony. There set up camera traps on these people’s property and than pay them $$$ for each cat picture taken in every 4 week period. Jaguars pay the most, Bobcats and Mountain Lions also pay out when photographed. There were no Ocelot or Jaguarundi pix taken by any of these cameras so far, but there was a series of bobcat cubs playing! Very cool stuff.

    My point is, we need to make reserves. We need to educate the people around these areas. We need to train animal control officer on the proper way to deal with one of these cats. I like that they DO NOT collar any of these cats. All 100% camera trap tracking. This is the type of forward thinking we need to use. I’m sure there are other great ideas besides the we all came up with. It’s not rocket science!

    1. The Sonora Desert Jaguar Projects are finding innovated ways to allow all the cats in that area and the ranchers and villagers to live in harmony.

      Excellent comment Dan, thank you. Living in harmony with the wild cats must be our objective. They were in America hundred of thousands of years before people. They have a right to some space and to be left to live in peace. People don’t have to destroy every last vestige of wild cat habitat and shoot them when they happen to wander into a suburb or whatever.

  5. The main threat to Bobcats today in the only habitats that they have left are all the feral domesticated cats that are infecting these native cats with deadly feline-specific diseases. Domesticated cats have been found to be spreading their deadly diseases in some of the most remote areas of the Americas. Even Florida’s beloved and highly endangered Florida Panther is also facing certain extinction from unrestrained house-cats spreading their feline-specific diseases to them too. Just as your own native cat species, the Scottish Wildcat, will be extinct in a few months from now — from your own domesticated invasive species cats. Just as all wildlife preserves in Africa have sent out warnings to all caretakers to keep all domesticated cats away from their native Big Cat species. I’ll never understand why people who claim to love cat species are making sure that they all go extinct, except for the ones on their laps and in their yards. I suspect irreparable & permanent brain-damage from cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasites. After all, how can you tell that you have brain-damage? You can’t. Unless someone points it out to you with irrefutable evidence.

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for the comment. However, I have never read elsewhere that the feral cat is transmitting disease to bobcats and that this is a major cause for concern. Yes, the Scottish wild cat population has been severely damaged by cross-breeding with domestic cats producing non-purebred Scottish wild cat hybrids. This has occurred with domestic cats in gardens etc. as well, because the wild cat does go into gardens. The underlying reason behind both these situations and the Florida panther is not the domestic or feral cat but people.

      But for people being irresponsible with their cats, and but for people breeding (having kids) and expanding their activities and building new homes and new roads, these wild cats would not be under threat.

      Bob, I think you are blaming the “messenger” (the stray domestic cat) so to speak and not the sender (people). People are quite profoundly the biggest threat to the wild cat species on the planet by far. If you want to fix the problem write about people exclusively. At root, the problems are caused by people.

      Note: the biggest reason for Florida panther deaths is road traffic – being hit by cars due to road building expansion and human development due to human population growth. After that this cat is highly inbred due to living in an island habitat. Once again this is a man made situation.

      1. Why do you feel the need to lie and deceive so much and so often? You have the internet at your fingers so I can’t excuse you for simple ignorance.

        I’ve studied the Florida Panther. There is only ONE MAIN ROAD running through their territory and it is clearly marked with slow-speed warnings and actively monitored for traffic violations of those highly reduced speeds — which start 5 miles before even entering their territory (for a safety-buffer zone). I had turned in a few of those violators myself. Not ONE Florida Panther died from road-traffic during the 3 years that I was studying them. Traffic has little to nothing to do with their demise.

        You might also want to educate yourself on your own Scottish Wildcat. Human habitation has nothing to do with their certain impending extinction. The ONLY reason they are going extinct is due to your free-roaming domesticated cats. You might also want to find all the articles warning African wildlife preserves to keep all domesticated cats away from their native Big Cat species so they don’t suffer the same fate that your man-made cats are causing to native cats everywhere else in the world.

        Seriously, is the only way that you can wake-up each day is with a heavy cloak of denial wrapped around your life? Wow. Amazing. With people like you in the world we can kiss ALL native cat species good-bye on the planet — and soon.

        1. You sound like Woodsman and a cat hater. I am not in denial. I am very realistic. And I know more about the wild cats than you do. Regarding the Scottish wild cat I am not saying “human habitation” is the problem. I am saying that if there were less people in Scotland there would be less of a problem and if the Scottish wild cat hadn’t been hunted to extinction in England by rich landowners by the middle of the 19th century there would be no problem with the Scottish wildcat. It is about people and their behavior. People are the root cause.

          What the Brits did to the Scottish wild cat hundreds of years ago, the Americans are doing to the puma today. As to the road running through Florida – it kills pumas. Look it up yourself.

          And finally, stop insulting me. If you do it again you’ll be banned permanently.

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