Florida Bobcat

by Michael
(London, UK)

The Florida bobcat (Lynx rufus floridanus) doesn’t exist. That is what the major authorities on the world’s wild cats say. I am referring to:

  • Wild Cats Of The World (Sunquists)
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (Red List)

Both of these sources make no mention of the Florida bobcat. The Red List would have listed it as a subspecies if it was one as they always refer to the latest research into taxonomy (the classification of species)….

florida bobcat

…Recently, classifications have been modified or upgraded through DNA analysis whereas in the past it was assessed through observation of physical characteristics and behaviour etc.

One source that argues that there is such a species is the University of Florida IFAS Extension (edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW201). They say it is a “distinct subspecies” and refer to the Florida Puma as another example. Yet it is doubtful that the Florida Puma is a subspecies as the physical differences are said to be due to inbreeding because of a very small isolated population. Of course, people in Florida would like to have their very own wild animal. What is ironic is that the wild cats in Florida cannot be said to be that well treated due to huge pressures on their habitat as a result of human population growth and activity (property developments). Although it is not clear, the university’s sources for their assertion possibly came from either or both of these sources:

  • Mammals of the Eastern United States. London: Cornell University. pages. 393-497
  • Brown, Larry N. 1997. Mammals of Florida. Miami, Florida: Windward Publishing, Inc. pp224.

Perhaps the major source of information on the so called Florida bobcat is Wikipedia® (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobcat). Despite what some people say Wikipedia is a reliable, high quality source because they have careful rules and they always reference sources. Wikipedia lists out 12 subspecies of bobcat one of which is the Florida bobcat.

The Wikipedia authors do not, however, support this contention with a reference. So there is no source for this statement it seems – strange. They do say that:

The subspecies division has been challenged, given a lack of clear geographic breaks in the Bobcat range and the minor differences between subspecies.

The source for this statement is a 2004 CITES convention. It is probable that the older books on the bobcat divided it up into 12 subspecies. But the science of taxonomy has become more accurate and is going through a period of change due to DNA testing as mentioned.

Modern science therefore supports the argument that there is no such animal as the Florida bobcat. It is the bobcat (Lynx rufus) no more or less. However, weight and physical characteristics of the bobcat does vary from region to region but this is typical of a number of wild cats especially those that have wide ranges (distribution) that cover differing landscapes and climates. These differences do not (at present) qualify these cats to be called different species, however.

Bobcats that occupy the more northern latitudes are usually larger than those found in the south (
for example in Florida). An example would be adult male bobcats in Oklahoma weighing on average 8.9 kg and those in Minnesota weighing 13 kg, a substantial difference.

I am reluctant to change the Wikipedia entry in case I have missed something. If someone knows better please say so in a comment below! Thanks.

Photo: published under

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Florida Bobcat

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Mar 12, 2012
bad cat NEW
by: Anonymous a bob killed 4 of my quail that were in a cage. i dont like to kill anything, but i will kill this cat

Mar 06, 2012
big bobcats in north central florida NEW
by: ocklawaha yesterday 3/5/2012 i was working on my truck when i heard the chikens going crazy went to the back and theyre was a cloud of dust by the florida room and sudenly what i thought was a prety big doskiny dog wasw carying my beautiful black rooster i gave chase yelling heyyyy heyyyy he was running towards the forest in the back my son came out hey whats going on by then i had realized it was a bobcat a real big one it droped the rooster it couldnt get it through the holes in the fence and it droped and jumped over it but it stoped about 20 feet away it wasnt really scared it looked mangy and real skiny keped looking towards the other chikens through a piece of branch at it and it went into the forest cheked the rooster it was deAD BROKE ITS NECK FIGURED IT BE BACK SO I LEFT THE ROOSTER SO IT WOULDNT COME AFTER THE CHIKENS NOT 3 MINS IT CAME BACK GRABE THE ROOSTER AND OFF IT WENT HOPE IT DINT ATTACK THE COOP LAST NIGHT

Feb 18, 2012
Pair sighted
by: Anonymous Just had a pair of FLorida bobcats roam through our condo parking lot here on Hutchinson Island, Stuart FLA>>

Jan 27, 2012
by: Rebecca Driving Out of Lakeport Fla. A small Bobcat ran across in front of the truck…

Dec 11, 2011
Bobcat in back yard…
by: Carly A younger bobcat was walking across the backyard here in Palm Coast, FL this week. It looked lost. It was not a housecat. It had the distinctive white markings around eyes and mouth and on tufts of larger ears. Distinctive markings also on inside back legs; white band above ‘busier’ brownish/markings. Had a bobbed tail.

I’m in a rental house in the “C” section along a fresh water marsh/canal.


Sep 16, 2011
16th Sept 2011
by: Michael As at the above date the IUCN Red List still does not list the Florida bobcat as a separate subspecies of lynx cat.

Sep 07, 2011
Ask Shannon Ruby
by: Anonymous http://www.felid.org/activities/page_20.htm

Please check out what Shannon Ruby has written about Lynx Rufus.

Shannon L. Ruby is the Natural Resources Agricultural Agent with the University of Florida Florida/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) and Lee County Extension Service.


8 thoughts on “Florida Bobcat”

  1. we live in Lecanto in the area near Homosassa..since I am from Maine I have heard Bobcats before.. we have lived here about a year now hove heard but never seen anything more than rustling in some bushes at dusk, last nite one was quite close and let out a scream and hiss at my dog in the back yard.. he must have startled the bobcat, who was luckily on the other side of the fence in a clearing on the edge of the woods… lots of bunnies hang out there..

  2. Just had what I believe to be a bobcat take a 2nd chicken from my little backyard coop. It was not a panther, for it was darker in color with either spots or stripes. (I believe spots) almost rusty color, but bigger than I thought a bobcat would be, and longer tail (I thought bobcats had none). But what worried me is it is 10:15 am. This cat could easily take my kids down, and I am sure mess me up considerably. On his hind legs he would be as tall as my 8 yo if not a bit taller.

    • This cat could easily take my kids down, and I am sure mess me up considerably

      I would not be worried. As far as I am aware, no bobcat has ever taken a kid down. This is a wild cat that will avoid people. There have been no attacks on people unless severely provoked. I would respectfully ask you to chill out and live and let live. That is the best way, while at the same time taking sensible precautions.

      • I am chilled, thank you, nor am I saying that it would take them down, just that it could. As for the avoiding people, it walked right into my garage as I worked in it without fear of me, looked at me, and sat down to clean itself. no fear not long after I posted the above. It was a beautiful animal, but that still is a bit eerie. By the way…. I never said I wouldn’t live and let live, I just thought folks may like to know what I witnessed in a decently populated area of Port Charlotte. My apologies for any inconvenience.

        • Sorry if I offended. That was not the intention. I must have got the wrong impression from your first comment. I guess that the bobcat has become habituated to the human because the human has built settlements (homes and cities) on its territory. This is not good for the bobcat because some people like to kill it.

  3. Hi Dorothy, he possibly is a bit out of his territory. But I guess it could be argued that people are occupying his territory! That is probably nearer the truth.

    The Florida bobcat is a subspecies so what you saw was a bobcat that seems to have become habituated to living in the urban jungle.

    Thanks for commenting.


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