Florida Bobcat

LYNX RUFUS FLORIDANUS

Florida Bobcat at the Brandywine ZooSqueakers was born in Louisiana in 2005 and lived at the Audubon Zoo with her sister Scar before coming to the Brandywine Zoo. Scar later moved to the Cape May Zoo. But don’t worry, bobcats prefer to live alone. Squeakers blends into her habitat very well! Next time you are in the Zoo, look for Squeakers along her shelf on or behind the tall rock on the left side of her habitat, or hidden in the foliage in the middle of her habitat.

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

GEOGRAPHIC REGION AND RANGE
Bobcats are found in most of North America. Florida bobcats, which is a sub-species of bobcat, are found in the southeastern United States.

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

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
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.

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

WEIGHT
Females average 15 pounds, while males average 21 pounds.

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

THREATS
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.

STATUS
Least Concern

REPRODUCTION
Bobcats have a two month gestation. Litters of one to six kittens, but usually two or three.

BEHAVIOR
Nocturnal (active at night) and crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn) depending on the season. They generally stalk and ambush prey, but sometimes lie and wait.

SOCIAL STRUCTURE
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.

COMMUNICATION
Bobcats maintain and defend their ranges with the use of territorial markers like urine, feces, scrapes, and tree scratches placed along the perimeter and within their territory. These cats rarely vocalize, however the might hiss while fighting, or call for a mate during the breeding season. Kittens are more vocal, using meows and purrs to communicate their their mother.

FUN FACTS

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

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.

More images of our Florida Bobcat