Can bobcats be black?

Yes bobcats can be black but they are very rare. I think there have been twelve reported sightings, the majority in Florida. A better description is ‘melanistic’ which is more like dark charcoal. Bobcats can’t be a jet black.

Melanistic bobcats have been reported by:

  • FA Ulmer Jnr in Melanism in the Felidae, with special reference to the genus Lynx. J Mammal 22: 285-288 – in 1941
  • TW Regan and DS Maehr in Melanistic bobcats in Florida. Fla. Field Nat. 18: 84-87 in 1990

Ten black bobcats have been reported in Florida. Oswald McFadden trapped a rare black bobcat on Christmas Day near Cocagne, in southeastern New Brunswick, Canada. This cat is the one in the photo above. You can see that he is not jet black but a nice solid black nonetheless.

Below is another snapshot of a black bobcat taken in Texas and uploaded to

Black bobcat
Black bobcat. Photo taken in Texas by Reddit reader.


15 thoughts on “Can bobcats be black?”

  1. To see this cat again is such a treat. What an awesome looking cat. I’d give just about anything to hang out with this guy.


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