Lynx rufus

The geographic range of the bobcat is throughout North America to southern Mexico. In the United States population densities are much higher in the southeastern region than in the western states.

Its head and body length is usually about 36 inches, and the tail measures about 5 inches. The tail is short, black on top only. The fur colors vary from dark to light with a spotted belly. Its spots are usually more conspicuous than on the Lynx. Its preferred habitat in the southeast includes forests, semi-deserts, hill country, and brushland. They sleep in hidden dens, often in a hollow tree, thicket, or rocky crevice.

Bobcats are strictly meat eaters. Good hunters, they stalk their prey, then pounce and (if successful) kill with a bite to the vertebrae of the neck. They hunt rodants, rabbits, small deer, large ground birds and occasionally reptiles. They are known to eat small domesticated animals and poultry.

Mating usually occurs in the early spring, although the timing is variable. After a gestation of 60-70 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 usually leave the den during the winter when they are about 8 months old. In the south and southeast some females are known to produce two litters of kittens, nursing different ages of kittens at the same time.

Like many felids, bobcats are solitary animals. The male and female interact almost exclusively during the mating season. They are highly territorial, marking the territory through gland secretions to deliniate home ranges that may be one to several square miles in size. A successful male's home range overlaps with those of several females, and may also overlap the territory of another male. The home ranges of females, which are smaller than those of the males, do not overlap one another. These cats rarely vocalize, although they often yowl and hiss during the mating season.

Bobcats are basically terrestrial and nocturnal, although they are good climbers and are often active at dusk as well as during the night.

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