Bobcats are very similar in appearance to lynx, but generally have shorter legs and smaller feet. Bobcat fur is short, soft and dense, and varies greatly in coloration. The background color of the fur can be light gray to reddish brown. The fur on the underparts is generally white. The pelt may be marked with black or dark brown spots or bars, and the backs of the ears are black with a prominent white spot. The tail is white underneath with a broad black band on top, is very short, and has several indistinct dark bands. They may measure 25-28 inches head and body length, with a tail length of 5.5-6 inches, and they may weigh between 16 and 22 pounds.
Cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, and jackrabbits are the most common food of bobcats. However, they also feed on rodents, opossums, birds, snakes, and deer.
Habitat / Distribution
Bobcats live in a wide variety of habitats, including coniferous and hardwood forests, brush, and even deserts. Snow accumulation seems to be the main factor limiting the northern distribution of the bobcat. Their range extends from southern Canada to central Mexico, but they have been eradicated from some midwestern and eastern states in the United States.
Reproduction / Social System
After a gestation period of about 62 days, females give birth to 2 to 4 kittens. The young nurse for about 2 months, and remain with the female until the spring following their birth. They are solitary animals. Adult females typically occupy home ranges that do not overlap with other adult females. Male ranges may or may not overlap those of other males.