Lynx rufus

Summary 5

The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae, appearing during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago (AEO). With 12 recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States. The bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semidesert, urban edge, forest edges, and swampland environments. It persists in much of its original range, and populations...

Associated plant communities 6

More info for the terms: cover, density, hardwood, shrub, shrubs, tree

Bobcats are found in a wide variety of plant communities including
coniferous forest, deciduous forest, mixed forest, the Everglades,
prairie and other grasslands, chaparral, sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)
scrubland, creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) scrubland, and mesquite
(Prosopis spp.) scrub [1].

Bobcats do show some plant community preferences. They commonly occur in
areas with a mosaic of different plant communities and seral stages
[4,7,51]. In Minnesota bobcats preferred areas of black spruce (Picea
mariana), northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and balsam fir
(Abies balsamea) interspersed with quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
and lowland shrubs [4]. No significant seasonal shifts in habitat use
occurred. Rollings [35] found that in Minnesota, bobcat winter habitat
was primarily thick northern white-cedar or black spruce swamps. In New
England, bobcats were frequently found in northern white-cedar swamps
and black spruce thickets [12]. Bobcat habitat in Massachusetts was
characterized by cliff areas, black spruce plantations, and eastern
hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)-hardwood communities [30].

Common tree and shrub species of bobcat habitat in the Intermountain
West include manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), mountain-mahogany
(Cercocarpus spp.), pinyon (Pinus spp.), sagebrush, and juniper
(Juniperus spp.) [37]. In the Frank-Church River of No Return
Wilderness, Idaho, bobcats selected Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga
menziesii)/mountain-mahogany (Cercoparus spp.) communities, but avoided
Douglas-fir/wheatgrass communities. The latter communities lacked rocky
terrain and mountain-mahogany cover for bobcats [49]. Bobcats in
another Idaho study were found in areas dominated by big sagebrush
(Artemisia tridentata) with nearby caves and sagebrush-Utah juniper (J.
osteosperma) areas near volcanic outcroppings. Most of the preference
for these habitats was accounted for by prey density and cover for
hunting and resting [47]. In Fresno County, California, bobcats were
most common from 2,001 to 4,003 feet (610-1,220 m) elevation, with the
preferred cover types in the eastern portion of the county including
woodland-grass, pine (Pinus spp.)-chaparral, and hardwood woodland [7].

California montane chaparral and woodlands habitat 7

This taxon can be found in the California montane chaparral and woodlands, a near coastal ecoregion in Central and Southern California, USA. This ecoregion is disjunctive, with a major element in Southern California and another along the Monterey County coast. The ecoregion encompasses most of the Transverse Range that includes the San Bernardino Mountains; San Gabriel Mountains; portions of the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains; Topatopa Mountains; San Jacinto Mountains; the Tehachapi, Greenhorn, Piute, and Kiavah Mountains that extend roughly northeast-southwest from the southern Sierra Nevada; and the Santa Lucia Range that parallels the coast southward from Monterey Bay to Morro Bay.

The California montane chaparral and woodland ecoregion consists of a complex mosaic of coastal sage scrub, lower chaparral dominated by chamise, upper chaparral dominated by manzanita, desert chaparral, Piñon-juniper woodland, oak woodlands, closed-cone pine forests, yellow pine forests, sugar pine-white fir forests, lodgepole pine forests, and alpine habitats. The prevalence of drought-adapted scrub species in the flora of this ecoregion helps distinguish it from similar communities in the Sierras and other portions of northern California. Many of the shared Sierra Nevadan species typically are adapted to drier habitats in that ecoregion, Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi) being a good example.

Oak species are an important component of many chaparral and forest communities throughout the ecoregion. Canyon Live Oak, Interior Live Oak, Tanbark Oak (not a true Quercus species), Engelmann Oak, Golden-cup Oak, and Scrub Oak are some examples. Mixed-conifer forests are found between 1371 to 2896 meters elevation with various combinations and dominance of incense cedar, sugar pine, and white fir, Jeffrey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and mountain juniper. Subalpine forests consist of groves of Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis), Lodgepole Pine, and Jeffrey Pine. Very old individual trees are commonly observed in these relict subalpine forests. Within this zone are subalpine wet meadows, talus slope herbaceous communities, krumholz woodlands, and a few small aspen groves.

In addition to these general vegetation patterns, this ecoregion is noted for a variety of ecologic islands, communities with specialized conditions that are widely scattered and isolated and typically harbor endemic and relict species. Examples include two localities of Knobcone Pine (Pinus attenuata) on serpentine soils, scattered vernal pools with a number of endemic and relict species, and isolated populations of one of North America’s most diverse cypress floras, including the rare Gowen Cypress (Cupressus goveniana goveniana) restricted to two sites on acidic soils in the northern Santa Lucia Range, Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) found only at two coastal localities near Monterey Bay, and Sargent Cypress (Callitropsis sargentii LR/LC) restricted to serpentine outcrops. Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) is also restricted to three coastal sites near Monterey Bay.

The ecoregion is also home to a few endemic or near-endemic mammalian vertebrates, such as the White-eared Pocket Mouse (Perognathus alticolus EN), a mammal known only to two disjunct mountain ranges in southern California: San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino County (ssp. alticolus), and the Tehachapi Mountains, in Kern, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. The near-endemic fossorial Agile Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys agilis) is found in the southern disjunctive unit of the ecoregion, and is known only to the Los Angeles Basin and foothills of San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties north to Santa Barbara County and through the southern Sierra Nevada, including Mount Pinos, Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains, and northern San Fernando Valley. Non-endemic mammals found in the ecoregion include Botta's Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae) and Trowbridge's Shrew (Sorex trowbridgii). Some larger vertebrate predators can be found in the ecoregion, including Puma (Puma concolor), Bobcat (Lynx rufus), Coyote (Canis latrans), and Ringtails (Bassariscus astutus).

The ecoregion boasts five endemic and near-endemic amphibians, largely Plethodontid salamanders. Some specific salamander taxa found here are the endemic Tehachapi Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi VU), known from isolated sites in the Caliente Creek drainage, Piute Mountains, and Kern County, California along with scattered populations in the Tehachapi Mountains to Fort Tejon, Kern County; the near-endemic Blackbelly Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris); the Monterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii); the Channel Islands Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus), endemic to a narrow range restricted solely on Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel islands; and the Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris), found only in California and Baja California. A newt found here is the Coast Range Newt (Taricha torosa). Anuran taxa in the ecoregion include the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii NT); the Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa EN), a California endemic occurring in several disjunctive populations; and the Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora).

The California montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregions contains a number of reptiles such as the Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum), who ranges from Northern California to Baja California. Also found here is the Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus); the Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis); the Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata); and the Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana). The Two-striped Garter Snake (Thamnophis hammondii) is a restricted range reptile found near-coastally from Monterey County, California southward to Baja California.

The California Condor once inhabited much of the ecoregion, with the western Transverse Range acting today as a refuge for some of the last wild populations, after considerable conservation efforts, especially in the Los Padres National Forest. The Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni NT) is found in coastal areas of the ecoregion.

Central and southern cascades forests habitat 8

The Oregon slender salamander is endemic to the Central and Southern Cascades forests ecoregion. The Central and Southern Cascades forests span several physiographic provinces in Washington and Oregon, including the southern Cascades, the Western Cascades, and the High Cascades, all within the USA. This ecoregion extends from Snoqualmie Pass in Washington to slightly north of the California border. The region is characterized by accordant ridge crests separated by steep, deeply dissected valleys, strongly influenced by historic and recent volcanic events (e.g. Mount Saint Helens).

This ecoregion contains one of the highest levels of endemic amphibians (five of eleven ecoregion endemics are amphibians) of any ecoregion within its major habitat type. The threatened Northern spotted owl has been used as an indicator species in environmental impact assessments, since its range overlaps with 39 listed or proposed species (ten of which are late-seral associates) and 1116 total species associated with late-seral forests. Late-seral forests in general are of national and global importance because they provide some of the last refugia for dependent species, and perform vital ecological services, including sequestration of carbon, cleansing of atmospheric pollutants, and maintenance of hydrological regimes.

There are a number ofl amphibian taxa present in the Central and Southern Cascades ecoregion; the totality of these amphibian taxa are: the Rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa); the endemic and Vulnerable Shasta salamander (Hydromantes shastae);  the endemic and Vulnerable Oregon slender salamander (Batrachoseps wrighti); the Endangered Dunn's salamander (Bolitoglossa dunni); the Northwestern salamander (Ambystoma gracile); the Near Threatened western toad (Anaxyrus boreas); the Vulnerable Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa); the Near Threatened Cascades frog (Rana cascadae); Coastal tailed frog (Ascaphus truei); Near Threatened Larch Mountain salamander (Plethodon larselli); California newt (Taricha torosa); Pacific giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus); Cope's giant salamander (Dicamptodon copei); Monterey ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii); the Near Threatened Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii); Northern Red-legged frog (Rana aurora); Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla); Van Dyke's salamander (Plethodon vandykei), an endemic of the State of Washington, USA; Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum); and the Olympic torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton olympicus).

There are a moderate number of reptilian species present in the ecoregion, namely in total they are: Western pond turtle (Emys marmorata); Western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis); Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis); Ringed-neck snake (Diadophis punctatus); Rubber boa (Charina bottae); California mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata); Yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor); Western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis); Western gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer); Common garter snake (Thanophis sirtalis); Northwestern garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides); Western skink (Megascops kennicottii); Southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata); and the  Northern alligator lizard (Elgaria coerulea).

There is a considerable number of avifauna within the Central and Southern Cascades ecoregion; representative species being: Flammulated owl (Otus flammeolus); Western screech owl (Megascops kennicottii); White-tailed ptarmigan (Picoides albolarvatus); and White-headed woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus).

There are a large number of mammalian taxa in the ecoregion, including: Bobcat (Lynx rufus); Wolverine (Gulo gulo); California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi); Yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris); Ermine (Mustela erminea); Fog shrew (Sorex sonomae), an endemic mammal to the far western USA; Hoary marmot (Marmota caligata); Mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa); and the Near Threatened red tree vole (Arborimus longicaudus); Yellow pine chipmunk (Tamias amoenus); and the American water shrew (Sorex palustris).

Common names 9

bay lynx

Communication and perception 10

Bobcats mark their territories with scent to warn other bobcats to stay out. They make various yowling sounds to communicate with one another during the breeding season. Like all felidae, bobcats have excellent vision and hearing and a well-developed sense of smell.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

Conservation status 11

Bobcats are listed in CITES Appendix II.

One type of bobcat, the Mexican bobcat, is listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This subspecies is confined to central Mexico.

There are probably almost one million bobcats living in the United States. In some areas they are quite rare, while in others they have stable and sometimes dense populations. Hence some states allow regulated hunting, while in others they are protected.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix ii

State of Michigan List: no special status

Cover requirements 12

More info for the term: cover

Denning and resting cover - Habitat features such as thickets, stumps,
logging debris, and various types of rock features serve as denning
sites and resting areas for bobcats [6]. Rock piles or broken rocky
ledges provide important den sites and shelter for bobcats, especially
in the West. Rocky areas were the preferred den sites of bobcats in
easteren Idaho [3]. In California small rocky areas were often used as
denning and resting sites [48]. During periods of heavy rain or high
temperatures, bobcats used these areas for shelter almost exclusively.
Bailey [2] noted the importance of rock piles and caves for rearing
young and for refuge in severe weather. In the northern part of the
bobcat's range, where winters are often severe, bobcats may require
underground dens to survive [3].

Bobcats also use brush piles, hollow trees, and logs as rest sites and
dens. Bobcat rest areas have frequently been found under low-hanging
conifer boughs [7]. Zezulak and Schwab [48] noted bobcats resting under
bushes and next to fallen Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) in the Mojave
Desert. In the relatively moderate climate of the Southeast, features
such as thickets, hollow stumps, and logging debris offer adequate cover
for both resting and denning [6].

Travel and loafing cover - Bottomland hardwoods are often used for
loafing and travel, possibly because the closed canopy and dense
midstory of these areas supply shade during periods of high temperatures

Foraging cover - Bobcats often hunt in open to semiopen areas. Bobcat
prey are generally less common in forested cover types than in
shrub/grass-forb cover types. Within the shrub/grass-forb cover types,
shrub patches or thickets are necessary cover for bobcat prey.
Favorable environments for bobcat prey (e.g., cotton rats [Sigmodon spp.]
and cottontail rabbits [Sylvilagus spp.]) in the Southeast are generally
available on clearcuts and young (< 5-year) pine plantations [6,57].

Description 13

"The Bobcat is the most widely distributed native cat in North America. Bobcats occupy many habitat types, from desert to swamp to mountains. They are mostly nocturnal predators, taking quarry ranging in size from mouse to deer. Rabbits and hares make up a large part of the bobcat's diet. Like Lynx, male and female Bobcats maintain territories by scent-marking. An individuals territory does not overlap with another Bobcats of the same sex, but females home ranges can fall within the territories of males. Females breed sooner than males, at about one year of age; males are ready to breed when they are about two. One litter, with an average of three kittens, is born each year."

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Distribution 14

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Central Mexico north through much of the contiguous U.S. to southern Canada. There has been a reduction in range, primarily in the northern part, associated with agriculture and the removal of forests (McCord and Cardoza 1982).

Distribution 15

Bobcats occur from southern Canada south almost throughout the
contiguous United States to southern Mexico. They do not occur in most
of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri. Bobcat range is
gradually expanding northward in Canada as boreal forests become
fragmented by farming, logging, and settlement [6,17]. The current
distribution of the subspecies was not described in the literature.

Economic importance for humans: negative 16

Bobcats occasionally eat small domesticated animals, which has resulted in attempts to get rid of them them in some areas. In the southeastern United States, bobcats are becoming increasingly used to cities and towns, though their shyness makes it unlikely that they will be seen.

On rare occasions humans are attacked by bobcats.

Economic importance for humans: positive 17

In the past bobcats were extensively hunted and trapped for their valuable pelts.

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material

Ecosystem roles 18

Bobcats are important predators of many species of mammalia and aves.

Food habits 19

Bobcats are strictly meat eaters. Stealthy hunters, they stalk their prey, then pounce and (if successful) kill with a bite to the vertebrae of the neck. They hunt rodentia, leporidae, small artiodactyla, large ground aves, and sometimes reptilia. They occasionally eat small domesticated animals and galliformes.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles

Food habits 20

Bobcats are opportunistic and will attempt to take almost any prey
available, including insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and
mammals. Mammalian prey, however, is often the most common prey in the
bobcat diet. Bobcats most frequently kill animals weighing 1.5 to 12
pounds (700 g-5.5 kg) [7].

Cottontail rabbits appear to be the principal prey of bobcats throughout
bobcat's range [6,7,38]. Primary exceptions occur from Minnesota to New
England, where white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and snowshoe
hare (Lepus americanus) increase in importance [6].

Bobcats in the Southeast rely heavily on two species, eastern
cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus) and cotton rats, for food throughout
the year [6]. Cotton rats may be more important than eastern
cottontails from Florida to Louisiana. In the interior highlands of
Arkansas, eastern fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) and eastern gray
squirrels (S. carolinensis) are important foods. In the mountains of
eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, the woodland vole
(Microtus pinetorum) and various species of birds are important bobcat
prey [6]. In the West rodents, especially woodrats (Neotoma spp.), are
often eaten [6,7].

Geographic range 21

Bobcats are found throughout North America from southern Canada to southern Mexico. In the United States population densities are much higher in the southeastern region than in the western states.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Global abundance 22

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: No exact figures; many individuals per state.

Habitat 23

Bobcats can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, semi-deserts, mountains, and brushland. They sleep in hidden dens, often in hollow trees, thickets, or rocky crevices.

Habitat Regions: temperate

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; forest ; mountains

Habitat related fire effects 24

More info for the terms: cover, fire exclusion

Fire may improve the foraging habitat and prey base of bobcats. Fires
that create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas including some open
areas and some cover are probably most beneficial to bobcats. Fires
that reduce vegetation height and create open areas probably increase
hunting efficiency. Surface fires often open substrates for quieter
stalking and easier capture of prey than can occur in closed forests
[26]. Annual winter burning on a northern bobwhite (Colinus
virginianus) plantation may have improved stalking conditions for
bobcats which resulted in an increase in the local bobcat population

In California bobcats feed in recent (1-year-old) chaparral burns and
young (2- to 3-year-old) chaparral [28]. Longhurst [28] observed that
at the Hopland Field Station in California, populations of bobcats
increased in young to intermediate aged chaparral interspersed with
grassland. Bobcat populations showed a downward trend in both mature
chaparral (10 years old or more) and extensive grasslands.

Periodic fire helps to maintain habitat for many bobcat prey. Several
studies indicate that many small mammal populations increase rapidly
subsequent to fire in response to increased food availability

Cotton rats often leave burned areas immediately after fire, but they
return to burned areas to forage on green vegetation as the season
progresses. Cotton rats experience greater weight gains in burned than
unburned areas. Komarek [50] reported effects of fire exclusion on
cotton rats and other grassland rodents in pine woods which had
previously been burned annually. After 4 years the cotton rat
population had decreased sharply. Fire at 3-year intervals would
provide optimum habitat for cotton rats as long as adequate amounts of
unburned areas were available as escape cover. Cottontail rabbit
responses to fire are apparently similar to those of the cotton rat
[21]. Fire often improves hare and rabbit forage quality and quantity
for two or more growing seasons [20,26]. Hill [20] concluded that
burning in pine plantations in the Southeast at intervals longer than 2
years would be less beneficial to rabbits and hares than annual burns,
but any fire is better for these species than fire exclusion.

Lifespan/longevity 25

Bobcats live up to 12 years in the wild. In captivity, they may live up to 32 years.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
12 (high) years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
32 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
32.3 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
15.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
32.3 years.

Management considerations 26

More info for the term: cover

To enhance and maintain habitat quality for bobcats, managers should
maintain a mosaic of cover types with early to mid-successional stages,
maintain cover adjacent to preferred physical features (e.g., cliffs),
and maintain vegetation in riparian areas and ridgelines to enhance
dispersal [1].

Habitat management favoring bobcats is possible in areas managed for
timber production. Generally, small mammal populations peak 1 to 3
years after clearcutting and planting and decrease sharply thereafter.
Clearcutting "small" blocks of timber interspersed with forested areas
provides good habitat for small mammals and therefore good foraging
habitat for bobcats. Delaying the canopy closure of newly planted
stands promotes small mammal abundance for longer periods. Canopy
closure can be delayed in several ways, including increased spacing (to
approximately 10 feet [3 m]) of original planting, and early and
extensive thinning [6].

Response to human activities - Bobcats appear capable of dealing with
moderate human influence on the environment. Their populations are
stable in the United States, except in areas of intensive farming and
dense human populations, such as in the Midwest and along the central
Atlantic coast in Delaware and New Jersey. In Canada, bobcats are
expanding their range into many areas that previously supported only
lynx [7].

Bobcats often use recently logged areas and farms, because logging and
farming practices often provide food and cover for prey species.
Agricultural land that is so extensive as to eliminate rocky ledges,
swamps, and forest tracts is not used by bobcats. Bobcats show little
or no aversion to human dwellings or equipment; in fact, one bobcat
frequently rested within 200 feet (61 m) of an occupied dwelling.
Resting bobcats often respond to motor vehicles and logging activities
by moving a short distance and resuming their rest [7].

Depredations - Bobcats occasionally prey upon livestock [7]. Gashwiler
and others [16] allege that bobcats often hunt around lambing grounds,
but domestic sheep remains were found in only 1 of 53 bobcat stomachs.
Only 1 of 222 ewe losses to predators in 1973 through 1975 in Idaho was
attributed to a bobcat [7].

Predators 27

Bobcats are not commonly preyed upon. Kittens may be taken by foxes
(Vulpes spp. and Urocyon spp.), owls (Strigidae), mountain lions (Felis
concolor), coyotes (Canis latrans), and adult male bobcats. Bobcats may
also be killed or injured by prey animals. Bobcats are hunted and
trapped by humans [7].

Preferred habitat 28

More info for the terms: cover, hardwood, selection, vines

Bobcats are adapted to a wide variety of habitats including swamps,
deserts, and mountain ranges [6,7]. Rollings [35] stated that prey
abundance, protection from severe weather, availability of rest areas
and cover, and freedom from human intrusion were the key factors in
bobcat habitat selection in Minnesota.

Typical bobcat habitat in the North is broken country including swamps,
bogs, conifer stands, and rocky ledges. Ledges appear to be the most
important terrain feature in bobcat habitat in the northern portion of
the range, with the only satisfactory replacement being conifers in bogs
and swamps. Courtship activities are often centered around ledges [7].
In Massachusetts bobcat courtship was invariably performed in the
vicinity of rocky ledges. Specific habitat requirements for courtship
have not been reported elsewhere [6].

In the South bobcats are common in mixed forest and agricultural areas
that have a high proportion of early to mid-successional stages [6,7].
In the hardwood bottomlands of Louisiana, Hall and Newsom [18] found
that mid-successional stages on cutover areas, characterized by
saplings, vines, and dense briar palmetto (Serenoa spp.), were the
centers of bobcat activity.

In the West bobcats prefer rocky canyons at elevations from 4,593 to
6,890 feet (1,400-2,100 m) with ledges and areas of dense vegetation.
In the southwestern and western United States, bobcats are adapted to
even the driest deserts if shade is available [37].

Home range - Bobcat home range estimates vary from 0.23 square mile (0.6
sq km) for California to 78 square miles (201 sq km) for Minnesota.
Females generally have smaller home ranges than males. The home ranges
of male and female bobcats may overlap, but home ranges of females
rarely overlap with each other. Seasonal range differences may also
occur. Winter ranges of male bobcats in California were up to 41
percent smaller than summer ranges. Female bobcats showed reductions in
their home range size up to 70 percent over the same period [7].

Regional distribution in the western united states 29

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

Reproduction 30

The mating system of bobcats is similar to that of felis silvestris. Males and females are only together for the brief time required for courtship and mating, and both males and females may have more than one mate.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Bobcats usually mate in the early spring, although the timing is variable. After a pregnancy of 60 to 70 days, a litter of about 3 kittens is born. The young open their eyes for the first time when they are 10 days old, and they nurse through their second month. Young bobcats leave their mother during the winter, when they are about 8 months old.

Breeding interval: Bobcats breed once yearly.

Breeding season: Bobcats mate in early spring.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 6.

Range gestation period: 50 to 70 days.

Range weaning age: 60 to 70 days.

Average time to independence: 8 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 265 g.

Average number of offspring: 3.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male:
730 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
365 days.

All female eutheria mammals provide nourishment to their young before birth through the placenta. After the young are born, the mother's milk provides them with further nourishment. Female bobcats bring meat to their young and teach them how to hunt after they are weaned, staying with them for almost a year. Male bobcats do not help raise their offspring.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning

Size in north america 31

Average: 869 mm males; 786 mm females
Range: 475-1,252 mm males; 610-1,219 mm females

Average: 12 kg males; 9 kg females
Range: 7.2-31 kg males; 3.8-24 kg females

Threats 32

Degree of Threat: C : Not very threatened throughout its range, communities often provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure over the short-term, or communities are self-protecting because they are unsuitable for other uses

Comments: Major threats are local excessive harvest by humans (especially in the north where the pelt is more valuable for fur) and conversion of habitat to commercial, residential, or agricultural uses (McCord and Cardoza 1982). Bobcats can tolerate some habitat disturbance but usually are absent from areas of intensive farming or with dense human populations. In Indiana, poorly regulated shooting and trapping are threats to the bobcat (Mumford and Whitaker 1982). Another possible threat is predation from increasing coyote populations (Caire et al. 1989); bobcat numbers are generally low in areas where coyote numbers are high, even if suitable habitat is present (Toweill 1979). In North Dakota, the rapidly expanding coyote population is considered a threat to bobcats (Kreil 1993, pers. commun.).

Timing of major life history events 33

More info for the terms: crepuscular, litter

Breeding season - Bobcats commonly breed in February and March.
However, variations in the breeding season are influenced by latitude,
longitude, altitude, climate, photoperiod, and perhaps prey
availability. Bobcats breed from February through July in Alabama,
peaking in March and April [7]. In Yellowstone National Park the peak
of the breeding season is from January through early March [9]. In the
Sierra Nevada bobcats breed from January through June, with breeding
peaking from February through May [41]. One male generally mates with
several females [9].

Age at first reproduction - Female bobcats are capable of breeding at 1
year of age. Males are sexually mature at 2 years of age [7,11]. Both
sexes remain reproductively active throughout life [11].

Gestation/litter size - Gestation is about 62 days [6,7]. In Utah a
majority of young are born in April or May [47], and in May and June in
Wyoming [11]. Usually two to three kittens are produced per litter,
although up to five kittens have been reported [9]. Generally, only one
litter is produced per year [41]. The kittens are raised solely by
their mother [9].

Development of young - Bobcats are born with their eyes closed. Their
eyes open between 3 and 11 days after birth. Bobcats are weaned at 7 to
8 weeks of age, but remain with their mother until they disperse [7].

Dispersal of juveniles - Juvenile bobcats generally disperse during
their first fall. In Michigan bobcat litters may not disperse until
their first spring [7].

Activities - Bobcats are generally crepuscular. Zezulak [46] found that
bobcat activity levels peaked at dawn and dusk in California. In
another California study, bobcat activity levels differed seasonally.
Bobcats were generally crepuscular during the winter, and more nocturnal
during the spring [48].

Life span - In the wild, most bobcats live 2 to 5 years; some
individuals live 15 years [9,11].

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) beartracker, all rights reserved, uploaded by Kim Cabrera,
  2. (c) beartracker, all rights reserved, uploaded by Kim Cabrera,
  3. (c) beartracker, all rights reserved, uploaded by Kim Cabrera,
  4. (c) matt knoth, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  5. Adapted by Kim Cabrera from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  6. Public Domain,
  7. (c) C. Michael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  8. (c) C. Michael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  9. Public Domain,
  10. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  11. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  12. Public Domain,
  13. (c) Smithsonian Institution, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  14. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  15. Public Domain,
  16. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  17. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  18. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  19. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  20. Public Domain,
  21. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  22. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  23. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  24. Public Domain,
  25. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  26. Public Domain,
  27. Public Domain,
  28. Public Domain,
  29. Public Domain,
  30. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  31. (c) Smithsonian Institution, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  32. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  33. Public Domain,

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