Comparing the bobcat and Canada lynx in tables

Here’s a table comparing the bobcat and the Canada lynx (note: in order to read the tables on a phone, I am afraid that you’ll have to turn it horizontal! Sorry for that but I have got the coding wrong 😒😢):

FeatureBobcatCanada Lynx
DistributionSouthern Canada, Central and southern United States, MexicoAlaska, Canada
Prey AnimalsRabbits, hares, rodentsSnowshoe hare, red squirrel
SizeLength: 47-88 cm, Tail: 13-20 cmLength: 80-107 cm, Tail: 48-70 cm
Weight6–18 kg8–18 kg
CountriesSouthern Canada, Central and southern United StatesAlaska, Canada
General EcologyAdaptable, generalist predator in various habitats including forests, swamps, desertsSpecialized predator in boreal forests with deep snow
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

As you can see, while both cats are similar in appearance, they have some key differences in their ecology. The bobcat is a more generalist predator that can thrive in a wider variety of habitats, while the Canada lynx is a specialist that is highly adapted to life in the snowy boreal forests. This difference is reflected in their prey choices, with the bobcat hunting a wider variety of small animals, while the Canada lynx is heavily reliant on the snowshoe hare.

Bobcat versus Canada lynx in an image created by Bing's Copilot which is not accurately representational but illustrative
Bobcat versus Canada lynx in an image created by Bing’s Copilot which is not accurately representational but illustrative

Hunting these species

Here’s a table comparing bobcat and Canada lynx hunting permissions:

FeatureBobcatCanada Lynx
Hunting PermissionsVaries by RegionGenerally Prohibited or Highly Regulated
Reason for RegulationsStable populations in most areasLower populations, sensitive to hunting pressure
License AvailabilityMay be available with a valid hunting license and specific bobcat tagTypically requires special permits and quotas may exist
Season DatesMay have specific seasons depending on regionLimited seasons or closed entirely

Important Note: Hunting regulations can change frequently. Always check with your local wildlife agency for the most up-to-date information on hunting permissions for bobcat and Canada lynx.

Population sizes

Unfortunately, there isn’t readily available data for a comprehensive regional breakdown of bobcat and Canada lynx populations. Here’s why:

  • Bobcat Abundance: Bobcats are widespread and adaptable, making population estimates challenging. They are not typically a species of conservation concern, so regional population data may not be consistently collected.
  • Canada Lynx Fluctuations: Canada lynx populations are cyclical and highly dependent on snowshoe hare abundance. This makes regional population estimates more dynamic and requires specialized surveys.

However, here’s a table outlining general population ranges and factors affecting them:

FeatureBobcatCanada Lynx
Population Estimate (North America)Millions (considered abundant) 2.3m-3.5m100,000 – 1.5 million (fluctuates)
Factors Affecting PopulationPrey availability, habitat fragmentationSnowshoe hare population cycles, habitat loss due to forestry or development
Regional Availability of DataLimitedFragmented, focused on areas of conservation concern

Additional Resources:

  • You can try searching for regional wildlife management plans or conservation reports from Canadian and US agencies for specific areas. These may contain population estimates for bobcat and Canada lynx.
  • Canada Lynx population data by Canadian province can sometimes be found on government websites.

RELATED: Canada lynx group hunting improves success rates (Infographic)

Conservation Policies: Bobcat vs. Canada Lynx

FeatureBobcatCanada Lynx
Conservation StatusVaries by Region (Generally Least Concern)Threatened (US Endangered Species Act)
Hunting RegulationsVaries by Region (May be hunted with proper licenses and tags)Generally Prohibited or Highly Regulated
Habitat ProtectionLimited Specific ProtectionsFocus on Protecting Boreal Forests with Deep Snow
Research and MonitoringLimitedOngoing monitoring due to threatened status
Recovery PlansNot ApplicableRecovery plans in place in some areas (e.g., Nova Scotia)


  • Conservation Status: Bobcats are generally abundant and not considered threatened. Canada lynx populations are lower and more sensitive to threats, leading to their classification as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.
  • Hunting Regulations: Bobcat hunting is typically allowed with proper licenses and tags, but regulations vary by region. Canada lynx hunting is generally prohibited or highly regulated to protect populations.
  • Habitat Protection: Since bobcats are adaptable, there are no specific habitat protection policies for them. Canada lynx conservation focuses on protecting boreal forests with deep snow, their critical habitat.
  • Research and Monitoring: There’s less research on bobcats due to their stable populations. Canada lynx populations are more closely monitored due to their threatened status.
  • Recovery Plans: Recovery plans aren’t needed for bobcats. For Canada lynx, specific recovery plans exist in areas where populations are struggling, such as Nova Scotia.

Evolution of the Bobcat and Canada Lynx

FeatureBobcatCanada Lynx
Ancestral OriginEurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
Arrival in North America~2.5 million years ago (first wave)Later wave, following receding glaciers
Evolutionary PressureAdapting to diverse habitats (forests, swamps, deserts)Specialization for hunting in deep snow
Key Evolutionary TraitsSmaller size, shorter legs, broader paws for various preyLarger size, longer legs, oversized paws for snow travel
Modern Appearance EstablishedAround 20,000 years agoAround 20,000 years ago

RELATED: The enormous paws of the Canada lynx are a good example of evolution (natural selection)

Additional Notes:

  • The first wave of Eurasian lynx migrated across the Bering Land Bridge, with some populations moving south and others staying north.
  • The southern population became isolated by glaciers and evolved into the bobcat, adapting to a wider range of habitats and prey.
  • The later wave of Eurasian lynx arrived after the glaciers receded, settling in the north and evolving into the Canada lynx, specializing in hunting snowshoe hare in boreal forests.
  • Both the bobcat and Canada lynx established their modern appearances around 20,000 years ago.

The challenge with this table is that reliable data on the total number of bobcat and Canada lynx trapped or shot for pelts isn’t readily available across a 10-year timeframe for several reasons:

  • Varied Reporting: Pelt sales and harvests may not be comprehensively reported in all regions.
  • Focus on Regulated Trapping: Data is often focused on trapping seasons with permits, and doesn’t necessarily capture illegal activity.
  • Combined Reporting: Some reports may combine bobcat and lynx pelt numbers, making it difficult to distinguish between the two species.

Trapping/Shooting of Bobcat and Canada Lynx for Pelts (Data Limitations Apply)

FeatureBobcatCanada Lynx
Data AvailabilityLimited, may vary by regionMore limited due to conservation status
ReportingFocus on legal trapping seasonsData may be scarce or combined with bobcat numbers
Estimated NumbersLikely higher due to wider range and abundanceLower numbers due to stricter regulations
SourceWildlife agency reports, furbearer associations (may not be comprehensive)Wildlife agency reports (potentially limited data)

Additional Notes:

  • While bobcat pelts are used in the fur trade, Canada lynx pelts are subject to stricter regulations due to their threatened status. This makes data on lynx pelts even scarcer.
  • If you’re interested in specific regions, searching for wildlife agency reports or furbearer association data for those areas might provide some insights, but comprehensiveness can’t be guaranteed.

RELATED: Illinois reopens its first bobcat hunt in more than 40 years

Sources: this page was created using Google Gemini except for the image which was created by Bing’s Copilot as Gemini has not as yet been taught how to create images 🙄😎. These AI bots use all the resources available on the internet. They can scan the internet in it entirety much more efficiently and comprehensively than a human which is the main reason why I have used AI. I have checked the information and it looks sound.

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