Bobcat, red lynx, bay lynx
This member of the lynx family owes its name to its characteristic stumpy tail.
L.r.baileyi, L.r.californicus, L.r.escuinapae, L.r.fasciatus, L.r.floridanus, L.r.gigas, L.r.pallescens, L.r.peninularis, L.r.rufus, L.r.superiorensis, L.r.texensis
Bobcats can live for 12-13 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.
Body length: 62-95cm, Tail length: 13-20cm, Shoulder height: 50-60cm, Weight: male: 8.9-13.3kg, female: 5.8-9.2kg.
Bobcats have light grey to yellowish-brown or reddish-brown fur with white undersides. They have short ear tufts, cheek ruffs and a dark tip to their characteristic stumpy tail. They sometimes have spots or tabby stripes. Bobcats are heavily-built cats.
They are found from the Canadian/USA border down to Mexico. Where Canada lynx and bobcats meet, the more aggressive bobcat tends to displace the lynx. But bobcats have shorter legs and smaller paws than the lynx, and so are less able to colonise areas of deep snow.
They live in forests in the north, swamps around Florida, and desert and scrubland in south-west areas of US. They are absent from highly cultivated areas of the northern mid-states.
Bobcats in the south typically hunt cottontail rabbits and populations in the north hunt snowshoe hares, but they adapt according to availability. Males will hunt larger animals, such as deer, when food is scarce. Rodents, bats and birds are also prey items.
Bobcats are solitary except during the mating season. They are secretive and are most active around dusk and dawn. They rely on vision and hearing to detect prey. Male territories are 2-3 times larger than females. Male ranges overlap many female territories and also may overlap with other males. Females will not overlap with other females ranges.
After a gestation period of 50-70 days, females give birth to 1-8 kittens (average 2-3). The kittens become independent after a year.
Bobcats are on CITES: Appendix I, but are not listed on the 2000 IUCN Red List. They are at threat of habitat fragmentation and loss due to the increasing human population. In the last 20 years, the bobcat has been the most heavily harvested and traded of all the cat species, and large numbers are trapped for fur. In Mexico they are persecuted because of the threat they pose to livestock.