Range & Habitat
Northeastern, central and southern USA, British Columbia and Mexico. Bobcats occupy areas from 1/2 square mile to as much as 25 square miles depending on the habitat and sex of the animal. Females have less range than males.
The bobcat is proportioned like a small lynx with a powerful body and a short tail of about six inches, which is black and tipped with white. Bobcats have a fairly large head with large sharply-pointed ears that are tufted in some sub-species. The bobcat and the lynx are the only cats with a ruff around their necks. Fur ranges from light tan to reddish or yellowish brown and markings vary from tabby stripes to spotting. Color and weight will differ depending on where the bobcats live and what they eat. They swim more than other native cats. They stalk prey but will also lie and wait in the bushes or on an overhanging ledge or limb and pounce when prey comes within range. They are mostly nocturnal and solitary, but will travel long distances for a mate. Bobcats usually bury their scat. They sharpen their claws on trees and will eat grass to clean out their digestive tracts. Pairs will cooperate to bring down prey. Bobcats spit, hiss and purr like house cats.
Reproduction & Growth
Mating behavior is similar to that of a house cat. Two months after mating, two to seven kittens are born blind and helpless. Although litters are usually born in April or May, they may be born any month except December or January. Kittens will stay with their mother for 10-12 months. They learn to kill their own food when their mother brings live food to the den for them to catch and eat. Adult bobcats weigh 15-35 pounds, but most are less than 25 pounds. Their lifespan is 12-13 years in the wild and up to 20 in captivity.
In the Wild: Small animals, birds, fish, snakes, and when food is scarce, they might hunt deer. In the Zoo: Chicken, Beef, Turkey OR a variety of fresh meats.