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Bobcat at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Click to see more.

Bobcat

Lynx rufus

Family

Felidae, the cat family.

Conservation Status

Least Concern, IUCN; common

Distribution

Temperate and subtropical North America.

Habitat

Most habitats, but prefer rough, rocky country interspersed with dense cover and abundant prey.

Factoid

Bobcats get their name from their short, stubby tails, and their bobbing gait.

Bobcats are on the alert for prey day or night, which includes rabbits, hares, rodents, quail, reptiles and carrion. Adults are preyed on by mountain lions while coyotes and foxes prey on the young.

Their coats are light brown marked with spots and bars. Their bellies are white with dark markings and their tails are very short and stubby. Males are larger than females. Facial tufts or “sideburns” and ear tufts may aid their keen hearing while black and white ear spots may be used as communication signals.

Males and females come together only for breeding from February to June and, after a gestation period of 60 days, 1-5 kittens are born, which are reared by the mother alone. The kittens leave her at 9-10 months to establish their own territories. Their potential lifespan is 12-14 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.

Bobcat populations vary in size, color, prey type, and home-range size depending on habitat type. They are solitary and, throughout their home ranges, they mark their territories with urine, anal gland secretions, feces or piles of duff or dirt called “scrapes” to warn off other bobcats.

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