Bobcat at the Brandywine Zoo

Adapted to many types of habitats, including deserts, forests, grasslands, shrublands, and even swamps!

Bobcats are found in most of North America.

Carnivorous: primarily prey on small mammals, but will also prey on birds and reptiles

Fur of various shades of brown, with dark brown or black stripes and spots. Short ear tufts, and ruffs of hair on the side of the head, giving the appearance of sideburns. A short tail, up to 6 inches long.

• 24-41 inches, average of 31 inches
• 1-2 feet tall

Females average 15 pounds, while males average 21 pounds.

Natural Habitat: 7-12 years (oldest on record was 15)
Under Human Care: mid-20s (oldest on record was 32)

One of the biggest concerns for the bobcat is that they are being hunted and trapped for their pelts. The coat of the bobcat is the most common cat species on the international market and the bobcat is the most heavily harvested cat species. Each year around 20,000-40,000 bobcats are legally hunted for the market, but those numbers are increasing. In 2013, the number of exported bobcat furs from the U.S. increased to 65,000.

Least Concern


Bobcats are found in every contiguous state in the United States except Delaware.

Bobcats are solitary, meaning they prefer to live alone. Kittens will live with their mother for 8-12 months, but are kicked out before her next set of kitten are born.

Bobcats are able to take down prey animals eight times their own weight!

Bobcats are amazing jumpers! They can leap a distance of 10-12 feet, and jump heights of 8-10 feet.

The Shawnee Native Americans have a tale that explains why the bobcat got its spots: After trapping the rabbit in a tree, the bobcat is persuaded to build a fire, only to have the embers scattered into its fur, leaving it singed with dark brown spots.

What are AZA Zoos doing for Bobcats?

Several zoos, including Brandywine Zoo, are involved in the Urban Wildlife Information Network, a North American collaborative survey of urban ecosystems. Bobcats are found in urban environments across the continent, and understanding their behavior and influence on their ecosystem is key to their survival and reducing human-wildlife conflict.

Bobcat at the Brandywine Zoo