Species: L. rufus
Common Names: Bobcat, Red Lynx
Bobcats are solitary and territorial, and the size of their territory depends on the availability of food and whether the bobcat is male or female. Females tend to have smaller territories.
Bobcats eat a wide variety of prey animals, including rabbits, rodents, and birds. They sometimes hunt larger prey including raccoons and skunks. They are able to go without food for long periods of time, but when prey is readily available, they will eat often.
Bobcats mate during February and March. Pregnancy lasts around 65 days and the average litter size is two to four kittens. The young are raised by the mother, and are blind for the first ten days or so after birth.
Bobcats are medium-sized wild cats, typically the smallest members of the genus Lynx, which includes three other cats: The Canada lynx, the Eurasian lynx, and the Iberian lynx. They grow to just over four feet in length, and stand about two feet tall at the shoulders. They can weigh up to 40 pounds, though they average closer to 20.
The bobcat is a stocky cat, with a brown to gray coat and a black spotted or streaked pattern. It has a ruff of hair on each side of its head that gives the face a wide appearance. Like other members of the genus Lynx, it has short black tufts on the tips of its ears.
The name bobcat comes from the animal’s short, stubby “bobbed” tail.
Stories and folktales involving the bobcat are present in indigenous cultures, including that of the Nez Perce, Shawnee, and Mohave people. In some tales it is a rival of the coyote, while in other versions it is an equal counterpart. One tale tells the legend of how it got its spots. After being trapped by a bobcat, a rabbit convinces its captor to build a fire, only for the fire to singe the cat’s fur and leave dark spots behind.