Puma/bobcat Hybrid Florida?

Here are a couple of screenshots from a camera trap video in the Florida Everglades. The camera was positioned extremely well. The cat genuinely looks like a puma/bobcat hybrid. There is no escaping that conclusion. The cat is about the size of a bobcat but has the head and body conformation of a puma and the tail of a bobcat. My thanks to David who commented (see below) and pointed out the video.

Puma bobcat Hybrid

Puma bobcat Hybrid

And below I continue the discussion. There are two pictures of what some people have described as possible puma/bobcat hybrids. They aren’t, however, on analysis but I am open to other opinions.

A visitor made a comment on the unknown Florida Wildcat page. A neighbor of his/her saw a cat that could have been a puma/bobcat hybrid:

In the Rocky Point subdivision in Stuart, FL. small domestic cats and dogs have gone missing at a high rate. My neighbor sighted a cat bigger than a bobcat yet slightly smaller than a panther with tufted ears. It can clear a standard 4 foot fence without touching…anybody out there think it could be a fl panther, bobcat cross? Ive seen both of those cats in our large preserve.

The first question is whether a puma/bobcat cross is possible and the answer is probably: yes. Although, Sarah Hartwell has not listed the puma/bobcat or puma/lynx hybrid on her site.

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I then set about seeing if I could find a picture of one! I came up with this:

Bobcat cougar hybrid?

Bobcat cougar hybrid? No

This cat was photographed in Georgia, by the way, which is adjacent to, and north of, Florida. I found it on a site about hunting (horrible). One of the hunters thought it could be a puma/bobcat hybrid. The general opinion was that the cat is a large bobcat. However, this cat has little obvious resemblance to a bobcat except for the distinct bobcat tail. The face has puma markings of white fur around the mouth and in the middle the fur appears to have no tabby markings, usually spotted, which is typical of bobcats. The fur looks like the fur of a puma.

The general body conformation is quite lightweight and puma-like except the puma is more muscled especially the hind legs and rump. This cat cannot be a puma but there are some puma-like elements.

What about the ears? They are very slightly lynx tipped as per the classic lynx ears (the bobcat is part the lynx family). That tells me the cat in the picture might be a bobcat.

In addition, the ears in the picture have ocelli on the ear flap – white spots on a dark background. The puma has black fur on the black of its ears and no spots and the ears are  small and rounded. The bobcat has ocelli. This confirms the cat is a large bobcat.

Also, there is a small ruff and all-in-all I have come to the conclusion that this cat is a large bobcat with an appearance that is not that typical.

The cat below is not so cut and dried:

Puma bobcat hybrid?

Puma bobcat hybrid?

This is a very strange looking wild cat. The cat looks larger than a bobcat. There is no tail it seems and the head is more like a cheetah’s and there is no classic bobcat ruff. This cat is not a cheetah because the chest is too small and there is no tail and its legs are too short.

Anyway this cat does not fit nicely into any wild cat species so it could be a hybrid. However, it too is probably a large bobcat. No more and no less.

For comparison here is a bobcat:


Pretty bobcat. Photo by Linda Tanner on Flickr. Taken Montana de Oro State Park

Note: On May 7th at around 06:00 I updated this page and republished it with the new date. I did so because of the very interesting additional photo I added at the top of the page.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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69 Responses

  1. Jose says:

    The so called Panther that came up on video in the Villages in Florida not too long ago fit the description of a hybrid. The video is out there if someone wants to post it.

  2. Kim says:

    My sister had this visitor recently, and we think it’s a cross between a mountain lion and a bobcat. She’s in Northern California.

  3. Elias l Abusaid says:

    I have seen this type of cat in Litha, Fishhawk area, Florida….actually looks like a mini puma… my guess 35-40lbs… unsuccessfully tried to record my third sighting.

  4. Ed Crotts says:

    I live in the foothills area of Western NC (Rutherford County), about an hour east of Asheville. Several months ago at around 10 a.m. I watched a wild cat cross an area of my gravel driveway while I was looking out our kitchen window. The cat moved from my left to right at a distance of around 60-70′ from my viewing position in a semi-shaded area. It walked in a leisurely manner. It did not look like a typical bobcat. The coat was all one color (tawny). The head, length of legs and configuration of the body (longer vs compact) appeared strikingly puma/mountain lion, although the tail seemed short. I didn’t get a clear view of the tail, but know it was not long and trailing away from the cat’s body as typically seen in pumas. Although now retired, my last 15 years of work was in the role of an investigator. I am trained to be observant and watch for subtleties regarding whatever I am inspecting/studying. This animal, to me, appeared to be some unfamiliar/possibly hybrid species and not a typical bobcat or puma.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks Ed. A good sighting. I am still not sure if there are puma/bobcat hybrids. Sarah Hartwell says: “There are no authenticated hybrids between the two species.”. She is an expert.

      But your sighting indicates that they might exist.

  5. Bobby says:

    Came off a camera today (the date is wrong in pic) , this is in North central Louisiana.

  6. Sarah says:

    I have a small section on them here:


    Some of the solid colour animals are likely to be escaped caracals. Some of the animals with small spots could be escaped caracal-serval hybrids. These are popular in the exotic pet industry but their prodigious leaping ability makes them great escape artists.

    Most, however, are juvenile bobcats – these are skinnier and leggier than the adults and it can be hard to judge the size.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks for the information, Sarah. I particularly liked the bit about the leggier and skinnier juveniles. A good point.

  7. David says:


    I appreciate the discussion. I just watched a trail video of a cat that to me clearly has the body form and head form of a mountain lion (albeit a small one) with a bobbed tail. Let me know what you think!


    I’m interested because I saw a tawny bobcat (no distinct markings, but the tail and face of a bobcat… with enormous paws) next to my house several months ago. And since my neighbor has recently seen a mountain lion in the neighborhood (though apparently there were two as there were two sets of paw prints), I wonder about the possibility of the other having been a crossbreed. In Blue Ridge mountains of NC.

    • Michael Broad says:

      I think the same as you! This looks like a puma/bobcat hybrid. It really does. The body conformation and head shape is puma. It is fascinating. I think we are forced to conclude that this is a puma/bobcat hybrid. I am going to do a screenshot and add it to the page with some words. Thanks a lot for telling me about this, David.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks David. I have added a couple of screenshots to the page. Great camera trap pictures.

  8. Elizabeth Theisen says:

    I live in central Iowa along Des Moines river.I saw a cat-to big for bobcat,too small for mountain lion. Bobbed tail but no white tip, no spots. It was stalking rabbits in my driveway, standing next to a riding lawn mower, it came up to yellow line on the mower hood.Our daughter mixed up the names of bobcat and mountin lion-calling it a bob lion- which had me wandering-is there a hybrid which led me to this page. Not happy, this thing was 75 feet out my front door! I was too shocked to get a pic.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks for telling us about your sighting Elizabeth. Sounds fascinating. I’d loved to have seen a photo 😉 Thanks again.

  9. James Loftin says:

    I found this site as I was trying to look up what I may have seen last night walking my dog in Far Northeast Mesa, AZ about a mile south of the Lower Salt River riparian area that had just experienced a wild fire. At first I thought it was a big stray dog as it calmly walked across the street from a golf course area that residents had previously mentioned had a bobcat den in the past. But, as I watched it cross the street not more than 20-30feet in front of me I could see it had a cat head and a bobbed tail. It was the tarnish color of a mountain lion and no apparent spot patterns. I have seen bobcat/lynx in the wild before. This was Not a bobcat; way to large; 50-60 pounds at least; much bigger than my 45 lb dog; by a third. Too big for a bobcat,and, smaller and chunkier than what I expect of an adult mountain lion. But, clearly a bob tail. My guess is it is a Very large bobcat with atypical coloration; but, would Not a bob lion also be midsized with some atypical mix of color and tail? I vote Boblion. Sorry, no photo of the “Boblion”; only a picture of the sagebrush it disappeared into. ( I was processing photo or flight ?)

  10. Stephanie Child says:

    We spotted this large cat in our backyard in North Port FL yesterday. He/she lounged in the shade for a little whole then slowly sauntered away towards the side of the house. The cat was comfortable and unafriad even though we were standing a few feet away in the glass doors. It seems to big for a bobcat but has the short tail. We didn’t see many spots.

  11. Pete Markman says:

    It’s weird that cats like this are stalking around the USA but are not yet recognised by science! I also note that American bobcats can be very stocky or extremely gracile. These must be different sub-species at the very least.

  12. Tanya says:

    Yup. Just saw one of these tonight on Cocoa Beach. My BF and I were sitting on a towel near the dunes after the sun went down. I clearly saw it walk down the sand dune. City lights were behind it so I saw his out line very clear!! I thought it was a panther. The way he moved. His head shape. His size. I was freaking out…however, as he came down the dune, I noticed he had no tail. Like a bob cat. But, I’m like. He’s too big, like a panther or cougar! We sat still and didn’t move…a little scary. He walked right down the dune, crossed the beach in front of us and up the other dune on the other side of us. It was awesome. But, what was he/she?? Haha…

  13. Sheldon says:

    You cannot say an animal is ‘a larger XXXX’ based on a single picture. There is no frame of reference to accurately judge size. This is a basic rule of cryptozoology. Most photos of ‘big cats’ end up being tabbies.

  14. Ray Reed says:

    I got this picture on my trail camera last night.
    I’ve seen plenty of bobcats but this cat larger than any normal bobcat.
    Would love your opinion on what you think it is?

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Ray. Well done in getting the picture. It is a small image. If you have a larger version you can email me: mj********@gm***.com

      The left foreleg has a tabby marking in the area of the hock. Adult pumas do not have any tabby patterns or they are very faint. Young pumas do have more distinct tabby markings. The bobcat does have a tabby coat of sorts. Also I don’t see a tail but this may be because the photo is indistinct. I would lean towards a large bobcat if the cat is a purebred wild cat but I am not sure.

      What’s your line of thinking on this?

  15. Michael Beeson says:

    As a young man hiking with my dog in the San Bernardino mountains I experienced a truly odd sighting that’s been haunting me ever since; sadly, I was not packing a camera. About 300 feet away across a canyon I spied a pair of very strange cats. They appeared to weigh about 60 Lbs. each, had light brown coats with no spots, large rounded ears with no tufts, and tails that appeared to be about 8 inches long. Not shy at all, they were apparently curious and began slowly walking toward us. We retreated back down an irrigation canal, and they did not follow us. An eerie day.

    • Michael Broad says:

      A great sighting and certainly there is a possibility that you saw a hybrid because we know what bobcats and pumas look like. If a cat that is much larger than a domestic cat looks distinctly different to what we know there has to be a possibility that the cat is a hybrid.

  16. Thomas baker says:

    It is interesting that no one mentioned the jaguarundi, which is also native to Florida. It is the size of a large housecat, only longer. Jaguarundi can mate with cougars, so they may be able to mate with bobcats. They cannot mate with housecats due to genetic mismatch. The photo from Georgia looks like one except for the tail, but it could be just the view.

  17. R.R. Smith says:

    Hybridization depends on the amount of chromosomes in a pair of particular related species. The Mountain lion and the Bobcat both have 38 chromosomes (as do most North American cats,with some South American having less). The hybridization would then be possible if there were a shortage of mates for either species in a particular location (although the Mountain Lion would normally see the smaller cat as prey, not a mate). This is true with Canids as well, Wolves, Coyotes, Domestic dogs, Dingoes, Jackals, etc, can all breed with one another, but not the fox, which has less chromosomes than any of the previously mentioned Canids. Furthermore, it is very possible, and to my trained eye, we have a good amount of photographic evidence here…Thank you

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks for contributing so nicely to the discussion – appreciated.

    • Joshua says:

      We don’t even know near what we think.

    • Lynda B says:

      Horses mate with donkeys, and they have different numbers of chromosomes (64 to 62). Their offspring are usually sterile (with 63)…the first mules and hinnies were naturally hybridized, so just because animals have different numbers of chromosomes doesn’t mean that they cannot mate. Also – notice how I said usually. There have been documented cases of both mules and hinnies, male and female, that were not sterile, and that foaled.

  18. Caren says:

    Have you seen the pic of the bobcat eating the shark? There’s a big debate on FB on it’s exact id.

    Also, I now live in SWestern VA and there’s a very widespread belief in puma/bobcat hybrids, just as there are coywolves. Why do you bring up the possibility of the idea in your prompt, yet deny anyone’s replies towards that point of view?

  19. Daniel says:

    So this is how I ended up here. I just witnessed not 1 but 2 wild cats in northern mexico, the only explanation available until now for what we saw is a cross species hybrids between a Jaguar and a Bobcat, truly amazing and honestly unexplicable. No one could move we were all in shock to see these 2 cats hunting whitetailed deer. Amazing, thank you. Until now we hadn’t even thought of the possibility we were searching for short-tailed jaguars all around, and yes they had those characteristic ears and short tails but their size and fur colors were exactly as a Jaguar. Impressive…

    • Hi Daniel. Thanks for commenting. There are no authenticated jaguar/bobcat; in fact I don’t recall any sightings or possible sightings of such a hybrid. The puma/bobcat is more acceptable but even that is not authenticated as far as I know. Anyway thanks for dropping by the site.

  20. Garrett Heilman says:

    I have personally seen a “bob lion” as I call it in Arizona, and it was by far the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I have been hunting for a couple of years and was with two hunters, one who has been hunting in the area for thirty years. We all saw the same thing……. A bit smaller than a puma it had small black/ dark brown spots but just on the legs near the ankles. It also had normal puma ears but with a black twist kind of, like a bobcat. Another thing was the tail, it was a stub unlike a cougar. It freaked me, since we were elk hunting and calling when out of the corner of my eye, I saw it almost crawling through the tan grass straight at me, eventually turning to the herd of elk. We all had time to look through our binoculars an saw it clear as day. It was not a puma or a bobcat.. Could it be both? One of the hunters was a biologist for twenty years, and he said that it was possible for a mix, but only if absolutely necessary (not enough mates). So we asked game and fish, and they said that both populations have spiked downwards. I am a firm believer in the bob lion.

    • Thanks Garrett for commenting. Very interesting. Probably the world’s most authorative writer about hybrid wild cats is Sarah Hartwell and she says (at around ten years ago) that there are no authenticated hybrids of this type. What she says is that as the bobcat markings are very variable and can be like the puma (vey small spots which are like speckles) at a distance they can be mistaken for a hybrid.

      Also sometimes bobcats don’t develop a ruff and this also makes them look more like the puma/bobcat hybrid at a distance. I am not saying it was not a puma/bobcat hybrid but it seems more likely to have been a bobcat with non-standard appearance.

      This is a link to her website.

    • Marcel Kincaid says:

      No, bob/puma crossbreeding is not possible.

  21. Ryan says:

    This looks exactly like a cat I saw while working in a Storm-water Treatment Area in South Florida. It appeared in an area where I had recently seen Bobcats. When I first saw it I though it was a small panther, but when it turned sideways I saw the tail and dismissed it as just a really big bobcat.

    • Hi Ryan, thanks for your input.

    • Brad says:

      I saw one on a jog today in southwest Florida. I’ve seen bobcat mounted. Its one was double the size with very long legs. It did have the bobtail and coloring of a bobcat. I found this site trying to figure out if it could be a panther-bobcat hybrid. There’s panthers in the area ( heavily protected). I ran upon this one on an isolated, vacant street. It crossed the road and sat under a tree. It was very bold as it stayed put and was still there on my way back minutes later. I picked up a large stuck just in case it attacked. Could’ve been rabid as they are usually very evasive. Thus one just sat still and eyed me as I passed within 15 yards away. I’ll bring my camera on the next run.

      • Michael Broad says:

        Great sighting Brad many thanks for sharing it on this site.

      • Lynda B says:

        Loss of fear is also a characteristic of hybridization. The coywolves of Virginia are very bold, compared to the shyness of coyotes in TX. Two came right up to my son and me, about 20 yards, and sat down to watch us play with glow sticks at dusk. They had no interest in us, other than to watch the lightshow. Needless to say we slowly backed up into the house, to which they just got up and moseyed away.

  22. Louis says:

    If that’s a hybrid, its a good one and that! but if its inbred poor thing!

  23. Caroline says:

    You have to keep in mind that a male bobcat’s ruff is pronounced, like the one in the top photo. A female bobcat doesn’t always show a ruff from the side, as often it is very slight. And the second photo does not give a clear indicative of tail length. Look for tufts on ears [oceli noted]…look at hindquarters again, notice lack of [photo is poor res, but not that bad considering] lack of strong “mascara/magic” marks btwn eyes and mouthplane. Physique: puma? regardless of hybrid/sp. is well fed. why?

  24. Caroline says:

    No, you are most likely correct. That is no bobcat, nor is it anything in the wild that I’ve ever seen, nor heard growl under a new moon. What are we looking at here? btw, I have tried without luck nor intelligence to educate any hunter, whether wild or domestic.

    • Marc says:

      If only hunters could become prey – I’d get a real kick out of that. I’m sure they will come back as the animals they often kill. What goes around comes around – that is the only thing which is sure.

  25. Harvey Harrison says:

    The odd characteristics like a short tail and strange markings may be due to inbreeding which is a serious problem with pumas or “Florida panthers’ in that part of the world. A bobcat has a more stocky body and a characteristic “mane” on the cheeks. In the top photo it’s tail is turned away from the camera so you cannot get an accurate idea of it’s length. In the 2nd picture about 15 cm of the top of the tail is clearly visible but the rest is hidden behind it’s leg and body. The tail is nothing like a bobcat tail. Short maybe, but inbreeding can cause all kinds of changes. It’s general physique is typically puma.

    • Michael says:

      Nice thought that: inbreeding. That had not crossed my mind but I am very much aware of it in respect of the Florida panther and the tiger and cheetah as two known examples. I am thinking of the Siberian tiger and now we know that the Bengal tiger in reserves that are too small are also inbred. Inbreeding causing sterility is the greatest threat to survival for the tiger and this threat kicks in when habitat loss due to human activity has played its part.

      • Caroline says:

        And you know, according to the NOAA’s site at Mauna Loa Observatory, when we reached over 400ppm in CO2 levels in our atmosphere on May 9th of this year, we will not be able to undo the damage in our lifetime, not even in our children’s children’s lifetime… meaning habitat losses to not only all of our beloved wildcat species, but for all spp. This is a serious concern to many of us, as well it should be, for we created it–the US of A being one of the very worst offenders.

        Here is the official website, if you’d like:

        [thanks, Michael 🙂 ]

        • Caroline says:

          sorry, I often get ahead of my original thought–the lack of habitat is not only due to humans’ monopoly on territorial space, but also to our appalling species’ use of oil/gas resources, mainly.

  26. The first one is a huge bobcat. The lower one? Crazy cool, but what is it? I wish there were other angles available.

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