Bobcat

Bobcat  

Scientific Name: Lynx rufus
Classification: Felidae (family) wildcat
Size: Approximately 827 millimeters (32 inches) total length, Approximately 8.5 kilograms (18.7 lbs) female, Approximately 12 kilograms (26.4 lbs) male
Life Span: Average 12 to 13 years

 

Description:

The bobcats of Nevada are composed of three races. All species appears twice the size of a domestic cat. The bobcat’s fur is a dappled or mottle of brown and tan fur with white belly and dark markings. Often the cats have noticeable tuffs of fur on the ear tips. The tip of the tale is black. The three races are noted by their more general color shades as gray (lynx rufus pallescens), darker color (lynx rufus californicus), and reddish coloring (lynx rufus baileyi). Bobcats are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes, and have sharp retractable claws.

 

Habitat:

The bobcat is adapted to a wide variety of habitat types throughout the united states, from swamp to deserts and mountain ranges. Bobcats of Nevada tend to select areas that offer protection from severe weather, have large prey abundance, are free from human disturbance, and provide coverage such as vegetation and rocks. These cats choose rocky areas near the mouths of canyons and fissures. Bobcats in the desert valley select broken rocky ledges about 30 meters above the desert floor since these holes offer rest, shade, and refuge for young.

 

Range:

Bobcats occur throughout the united states, southern Canada, Mexico, Central America and south into northern South America.

 

Natural History:

Bobcats have distinct territories and may move or change territories, but will avoid the areas of other bobcats especially of the same sex. Their home range is approximately 60 km (37 miles). These cats are mainly nocturnal (active at night) or crepuscular (active at twilight) however in the winter they are diurnal (active during the day) due to high temperatures and better hunting conditions.

Often there can be competition between bobcats and coyotes. The favorite prey among them is rabbits, but bobcats will naturally select rockier terrain for hunting which is not suited for coyotes, which run-down their prey.

 

Food Habits:

Carnivore. The bobcats’ prey are selected by size; typically prey items weighs between 700 g and 5.5 kg (12lbs). This size range includes rabbits, rodents, squirrels, gophers, shrews, moles, and birds. Since these animals are opportunists, they will also consume fishes, insects, reptiles and larger mammals in the winter.

 

Breeding:

Breeding season for bobcats typically is February through July depending on maturity, finding a mate and health. Typically, a female bobcat will have a litter of 6 to 8 kittens.

 

Status:

Furbearer.

 

Reason for status:

Populations are healthy statewide.

 

Fun Facts:

Often the deep low growl of a bobcat hidden in a forest or behind desert rocks can be easily confused for a mountain lions call.