HomeWild Cat SpeciesBobcatWhy do bobcats have short tails?


Why do bobcats have short tails? — 15 Comments

  1. Pingback:Bobcat size compared to domestic cat – PoC

  2. thank you mr Broad, i think your hypothesis could be tested; if it is a mutation that did not retract from the species survival, then one should be able to trace it to some genetic bottle neck that would likely precede the divergence of the bobs from the lynx species; it would be unlikely that the same mutation, with no survival advantage, would occur in more than one species; where as if the short tail trait of lynx and bobs occurred after they diverged than we can hypothesize that the trait has a positive survival advantage in some environment; thanks for your essay, cheers

  3. I think that maybe it could be like a lizards tail, in that they got caught by it too much, so the less easy to catch ones(those with shorter tails) survived long enough to breed again.
    Another idea is that it has nothing to do with how it helps it survive in the wilderness, and more to do with its relationship to other cats. I remember reading that Ligers aren’t common, not only due to their sterility, but also in that a lion thinks that the tiger’s ears are too small. If ears are a communicator like tails, maybe the bobcat just prefers to have a partner that they can ignore more.

  4. think since they mainly thrive in cold surroundings a long tail would just be an extra body-part to heat. So if the tail was not nessesary for hunting, it would actually be better not to have it, since it could possible even freeze if the bloodcirculation was’nt good enough

  5. Manx cats on the other hand often die because they can have difficulty deficating due to an intestinal problem tied into their bob tail.

  6. I’d just like to refine the observation by adding that since it did not hinder itโ€™s survival either it would have reproduced on an equal footing with other cats of the same specie. But there is more to it than that. All bobcats now have the short tail. It must therefore have provided some survival or reproductive advantage over the longer tailed examples that we suppose co-existed at some time.

  7. You’ve already surmised it brilliantly, Michael. That it did not hinder it’s survival either is something I hadn’t thought of. You’re one of the few people on the internet whose thoughts I must read every day.

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