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The Lynx or Bobcat

Updated on October 8, 2014
ArtByLinda profile image

The author is an amateur artist and photographer that loves to travel with her husband of 35 years.

The Beautiful Lynx or Bobcat

The north american Bobcat, or Lynx Rufus is rarely seen by man. So most people know little about the elusive animal. Hopefully this website will be a source of information on the incredibly beautiful Lynx for those that are curious and want to learn more.

The Bobcat is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which means it is not considered threatened with extinction, but that hunting and trading must be closely monitored.

There is a subspecies of lynx that is considered endangered. The Lynx rufus escuinapae (the Mexican bobcat) is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This subspecies is confined to central Mexico.

Intro module Photo credit: Attribution: Bill W Ca at en.wikipedia

Lynx at the Boise Zoo by Linda Hoxie
Lynx at the Boise Zoo by Linda Hoxie

What does a Bobcat Look Like?

Have you seen a Bobcat or Lynx in the Wild?

The Bobcat looks much like other species of the Lynx genus but is the smallest of the four.

Its coat is variable, though generally tan to grayish brown, with black streaks on the body and dark bars on the forelegs and tail.

It is spotted patterning acts as camouflage.

The ears are black-tipped and pointed, with short black tufts.

Their color also varies by the region they inhabit. Bobcats in the desert regions of the southwest have the lightest colored coats, while those in the northern, forested regions are darkest.

Kittens are born very furry and already have their spots.

The face appears wide due to ruffs of extended hair beneath the ears. The fur is brittle but quite long and dense.

The nose of the Bobcat is pinkish-red, and it has a base color of gray or yellowish- or brownish-red on its face, sides, and back.

Bobcat eyes are yellow with vertical elongated black pupils that widen to help them see better at night.

Lynx at the zoo
Lynx at the zoo

The historical range of the Bobcat or Lynx Rufus

Where does the Bobcat roam

The historical range of the Bobcat was from southern Canada, throughout the United States, and as far south as the Mexican state of Oaxaca, and it still persists across much of this area.

This photo is of a Lynx in our Boise Zoo in Idaho, taken by me.

The Species of Bobcat - How many different types or subspecies are there?

There are twelve Bobcat subspecies currently known or recognized.

Below you will find their scientific names, the souces cited and the location where the subspecies is believed to range.

Which is a big reason why as you look at photographs of the lynx or bobcat, many of them look different.

I remember when I was painting the lynx you see at the top of the page, everyone was giving my different descriptions of what they "knew" a lynx to look like. Each one was probably correct, because all the subspecies and species of lynx vary in looks, with the common similiarities you see in all of them.

  • L. rufus rufus (Schreber) - eastern and midwestern United States
  • L. rufus gigas (Bangs) - northern New York to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
  • L. rufus floridanus (Rafinesque) - southeastern United States and inland to the Mississippi valley, up to southwestern Missouri and southern Illinois
  • L. rufus superiorensis (Peterson & Downing) - western Great Lakes area, including upper Michigan, Wisconsin, southern Ontario, and most of Minnesota
  • L. rufus californicus (Mearns) - California west of the Sierra Nevada
  • L. rufus fasciatus (Rafinesque) - Oregon, Washington west of the Cascade Range, northwestern California, and southwestern British Columbia
  • L. rufus oaxacensis (Goodwin) - Oaxaca
  • L. rufus baileyi (Merriam) - southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico
  • L. rufus escuinipae (J. A. Allen) - central Mexico, with a northern extension along the west coast to southern Sonora
  • L. rufus pallescens (Merriam) - northwestern United States and southern British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan
  • L. rufus peninsularis (Thomas) - Baja California
  • L. rufus texensis (Mearns) - western Louisiana, eastern Texas, south central Oklahoma, and south into Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila

Lynx
Lynx

What does the bobcat eat?

They are meat eaters - Carnivores

The bobcat is a carnivore and has a diet of mostly meat.

They stalk their prey and then pounce on it, going for the neck for the kill like most of the big cats do.

Their most common diet is rabbits, hares, rats, rodents, squirrels, birds, fish, reptile and even insects.

Less commonly, they have been known to sometimes hunt foxes, minks, skunks, small domesticated animals and small livestock like goats, sheep and chickens.

Bobcat
Bobcat

What predators does the bobcat have?

Who eats the Bobcat?

So I bet you were wondering, just who hunts the elusive Bobcat?

The bobcat is often hunted by foxes, coyotes, owls, Cougars and wolves.

Sadly the kits are sometimes killed by male bobcat.

The largest threat to the bobcats existence come in the human form.

Bobcat track in the mud

Bobcat track in the mud
Bobcat track in the mud
Bobcat or Lynx at the Boise Zoo
Bobcat or Lynx at the Boise Zoo

Lifespan and Reproduction of the Bobcat

How long does a Bobcat Live?

Lifespan

Bobcats live on the average six to eight years. Very few live past ten years of age. There has been rare cases of a bobcat living as long as sixteen years in the wild and thirty two years in captivity.

Reproduction

Spring is the most common mating season for the bobcat. They breed much like the common house cat, with a female often having several different male mates. There is a lot of neck biting, howling and screams during breeding.

The female will have her kits often in a cave, or hollow log, any sheltered area will do. Her gestation period is sixty to seventy days. The lynx has between one and six kittens, with an average of two to four in a litter. The kits will open their eyes in nine to ten days and are usually weaned by two months. Though they will stay with their mother longer.

Beautiful Lynx at the Zoo
Beautiful Lynx at the Zoo

Lynx Behavior

What kinds of things does a Lynx do?

The Bobcat is nocturnal, and does most all of it's activities at night.

They travel two to seven miles every day. There teritory is marked with feces, urine scent, and by clawing prominent trees in the area.

Like most big cats there territory is usually solitary, but they will often overlap. They may have more than one home within that territory, which usually consists of dens made in hollow logs, brush piles, thickets, or under rock ledges

They are usually known to be quiet except during mating season where their yowls and hisses can be heard.

Adorable Baby Bobcat playing

Pretty Kitty
Pretty Kitty

The Bobcat in Mythology

Indian Lore

How the bobcat got it's spots

According to Shawnee Indian lore, the bobcat got his spots due to an encounter with a rabbit that he had chased into a tree. The wily rabbit suggested that the bobcat build a fire in order to be ready to start cooking - once the fire was going, the rabbit jumped in its center and sent sparks flying so that embers landed on the bobcat. The rabbit escaped as the bobcat ran to the river to extinguish his coat, which the embers had left with telltale burned spots.

The Hiker's Notebook

Native American Legends

Badger carries Darkness: Coyote and Bobcat scratch each other

A White Mountain Apache Legend

Coyote was traveling along. Badger always used to carry darkness on his back. Coyote met him. "My cross-cousin, what's in the bag you carry?" he asked. He was hungry and he thought Badger had food in his sack.

Because he thought there was food in there, Coyote wanted to stay around where Badger was and maybe get something to eat. So the two traveled on together for a way. Then Coyote was thinking he would offer to carry the load and let Badger rest.

Follow this link for the rest of the legend:

The First People - The Legends

This is from the Shoshone Bannock indians, the legend behind the reason they will not hunt the bobcat:

A trip to the Moon

Native American Legends

Old Man and the roasted Squirrels

A Blackfoot Legend

One time as Old Man was walking along, he came to a place where many squirrels were playing in some very hot ashes. While some squirrels lay in the ashes, others would cover them with even more ashes. When the buried squirrels became so hot that they couldn't take the heat any more, they would call out to the others, who would take them out at once. After Old Man had watched them for a little while, he asked them if he could play with them, too.

The rest of the story

Old Man And The Lynx

This story is also re-told as "Old Man And The Lynx"...

Old Man was traveling round over the prairie, when he saw a lot of prairie-dogs sitting in a circle. They had built a fire, and were sitting around it. Old Man went toward them, and when he got near them, he began to cry, and said, "Let me, too, sit by that fire."

The prairie-dogs said: "All right, Old Man. Don't cry. Come and sit by the fire."

The rest of the story

Baby Lynx Playing - Aren't they adorable

I hope you enjoyed learning with me about the Bobcat/Lynx. Please drop a note and leave your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by,

Linda


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    • profile image

      tammy hinds 6 months ago

      can a lynx breed with a house cat

    • karMALZEKE profile image

      karMALZEKE 3 years ago

      This is very informative. Their ears are so interesting. Nice lens.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      I didn't know that the life of a bobcat was so short. Thanks for the info and photos.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I love cats. I've seen a bobcat in the wild once here in Southern California.

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Fabulous lens about truly beautiful animals!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      kathy means

      very interesting and beautifully done

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 4 years ago from Michigan

      Beautiful animals. I no longer hunt, but when I was stationed in New Mexico, I occasionally went "varmint" hunting. It was usually just prairie dogs, but I also had a predatory varmint call which mimicked the sound of a dying rabbit. One day, I was crouched down with my call and my 22.250...looking up in the sky...expecting the crows I'd been hearing to show up. I noticed something out of the corner of my eye to my right and a mere 5 five feet in front of me. I froze; the BOBCAT froze. When I let out a yelp, he took off in a flash. No harm done...to either of us. My closest encounter with the species. I was lucky it wasn't a mountain lion...which also inhabit the area.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      A really interesting lens. As I live in the UK I know very little about them.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      We're fortunate to have a family or two of bobcats in our Florida community. The conservation areas plus the golf course gives them plenty of cover. I've seen them several times though they don't linger long enough for me to get a photo.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      They are just so beautiful, especially the lynx kittens! :)

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Lovely images and information on Lynx and Bobcats.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 4 years ago

      Recently I walked out my back door with my dogs and standing not 20 ft. away from us was a bobcat.....in the middle of the day! Loved my visit here!

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Wild life has always fascinated me :)

    • happydesertgirl profile image

      happydesertgirl 5 years ago

      Terrific lens! We live in the foothills of the Sandia Mtns in Albquerque and have seen quite a few bobcats. They are beautiful.

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      I did not know there we so many different subspecies. Beautiful layout.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just had one walk across my backyard this morning. Beautiful !!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Really interesting. I have seen them only in paintings.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      You must know that I am a cat lover ... what's not to love about the Lynx and the Bobcat?

    • luniarose profile image

      luniarose 5 years ago

      Wonderful photos

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago

      Wonderful images.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the wonderful photos and info about the bobcat and lynx. Never knew there was an African Lynx.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Sure wish that I had my camera with me! I was driving into my mum and dad's home in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. Canada and there was a lynx sunning him/herself on a large rock at the side of the road. I didn't even know that they lived in this area. It is a beautiful creature! I loved this lens with all the videos and am giving it angel blessings.

    • SilmarwenLinwelin profile image

      SilmarwenLinwelin 5 years ago

      Adorable cats!

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

      Browlf!

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Marvelous! This lens has been blessed and added to my animal alphabet lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I enjoyed learning from this excellent lens. Enjoyed the videos, too. I've seen a bobcat or two near my mountain home while hiking. I had been wanting to learn more about them, so I was glad to come upon this site. Thanks!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      I always thought the Lynx were especially beautiful. I have seen Bobcats in the wild, but never a Lynx. great lens.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I love cats and learning about different animals. I always wondered if I could tell the difference between these two cats in the wild. They sure have striking features and I sure enjoyed the bobcat videos and your info on these two beautiful cats. We only have cougars (mountain lions) on VI but it is rare to see one and I've only seen one once as a child. :)

    • nestboxes profile image

      nestboxes 6 years ago

      beautiful animal and informative lens. Have lensrolled to my wildlife bucket list

    • profile image

      DMWaters 6 years ago

      I am a big fan of all types of cats. I found your site fascinating a very well made. I will be back to learn more about bobcats and lynx!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      What a beautiful creature. So sad that to discover that so many of these wildcats are endangered, and there seem to be few Lynx in the wild here in Europe too. Lensrolling to my Scottish Wildcat, a smaller cousin who is only just managing to escape extinction by a whisker.

    • admiralglass lm profile image

      admiralglass lm 7 years ago

      Beautiful cats! We have lynxs here Finland too. Very important lens 5*.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I have just seen my first Bobcat, (I'm 54) That means I'll see another one.. Ah.. Never. Ran in to look up some info on the PC. Hell of a time to not have my camera. Your site has been a big help for information.

      Thanks,

      Don Lynch,

      Cogan Station, PA.

      rookie205@chilitech.net

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      I had no idea that an owl could catch and kill a bobcat.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Fascinating lens. They look innocent and cute. Great lens!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Very nice lens! I've lensrolled it to my "Critters of the Coconino National Forest". I've never actually seen a bobcat in the flesh (outside of a zoo, that is), but I see their tracks often, and often those tracks are very close to jackrabbit prints. I always wonder what the time difference was between the two sets and if they ever met. If so, I think I know which tracks would be left over.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I'm a surrogate bobcat mother at the Wildlife Education and Rehabiltation Center in Morgan Hill, CA. To see a video on how we rehabilitate bobcat kittens to keep them from becoming habituated, so that they can be returned to their native habitat healthy and wild and wary of humans, check out our website www.werc-ca.org

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Another gorgeous lens. Wow! Great job!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 8 years ago

      I love bobcats! I had one visit me when I did my vision quest. Wonderful lens. *****

    • Not-Pop profile image

      Not-Pop 8 years ago

      Thank you for the enormous resource. My kids love it!

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 8 years ago

      Another excellent work by you! Fascinating! :)

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      Oh My God I love this lens! I am such an animal person. I have shared this on tagfoot. I watched your videos and loved every one of them. GREAT lens!