The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American mammal belonging to the cat family. The Bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semi-desert, urban, forests and swampland environments.
With a gray to brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears, the Bobcat is about twice as large as the domestic cat.
It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, short tail, from which it derives its name.
Though the Bobcat prefers eating rabbits and hares, it will hunt anything from insects and small rodents to deer. Its prey selection depends on its location, the season, and abundance.
A Bobcat consumes all portions of its small prey, acquiring vitamin A, which is essential for conception. They eat all the liver, lungs, kidneys or adrenals of its prey.
Unlike most other cats, a Bobcat can go into shallow water, sometimes attacking its prey like beavers.
Like most cats, it’s territorial and very private, which means it does not like interacting.
It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine.
Although the Bobcat generally breeds between February and June in some areas, they have been known to breed all year round. They give birth to about one to six young kittens after a gestation period of about 60 days.
The kittens have a daily weight gain of approximately 25g per day and are weaned at about 12 weeks. They become independent from their mothers at about 10-12 months of age.
There is a noticeable difference between the lifespan of the wild and captive bobcat. In the wild the average age is believed to be 12-13 years, however in captivity bobcats can reach their mid twenties.
Although Bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient. The elusive predator features in Native American mythology and the folklore of European settlers.