Bobcat
Genus: Felis
Species: rufus

The bobcat is a wild cat that weighs an average of 33 pounds when it is full grown. Its body is 26 - 42 inches in length and its tail is 4 to 8 inches long. These medium sized cats average 2 feet tall. Their coat is light brown to reddish. Their fur is covered in black spots that fade into light black streaks. They have a smallish, round face with erect ears that have little black tufts at the tips. Bobcats have a shortish white beard below their chin. Their claws and teeth are razor sharp. The bobcat gets its name from its short, 4 to 8 inch tail.

The Bobcat is a solitary animal that

guards its territory well. Generally a male's territory is 100 square miles. It overlaps with up to three female's territories although they stay apart for most of the year. Between February and June the male bobcat will try to breed with most of thefemales he shares his boundaries with. A mature female Bobcat will breed once a year. The male bobcat leaves the female to take care of the young herself. In 60 days, 2-3 kittens are born. After ten days they open their eyes and are eager to explore their surroundings. When their mother is still nursing them, she will bring back live mice so the kittens will have practice hunting. They will stay with their mother until the fall when they are ready to live on their own. By then they weigh 12 pounds and are half grown. The bobcat reaches sexual maturity at 9 months.

Bobcats' teeth are sharp and strong enough to slice through flesh. They have sharp claws for climbing and dragging down prey. Bobcats have ears that swivel, giving them a keen sense of hearing so they can hear the slightest rustle in the leaves. Their fur is camouflaged so both their predators and their prey can not see them. They can run up to 30 miles an hour but prefer to walk.

The bobcat's favorite food is rabbit but it also will also eat rats, squirrels, ground nesting birds, turkeys and small sick deer. They hunt at night because their prey comes out at night. They have very good vision, sense of smell and soft padded feet for silently sneaking up on their prey. They jump on the animal and bite it in the neck to kill it.

The bobcat is a predator. It is prey to cougars and pumas and humans who hunt them for their beautiful fur.

The bobcat is not endangered but it is threatened in areas where they are over hunted, particularly in the eastern states. On the Least Concern list, the bobcat is one of the few success stories of wild cats surviving in today's world. It is highly adaptable in both habitat and prey, as many as 1 million live across the United States and southern Canada today. As many as 80,000 are trapped for their fur every year, with 37 states allowing this.

Ben S. 2001


 

Bibliography:

"Bobcat" Wildlife Explorer, USA: International Masters Publishers,1998.

"Bobcat (Felis rufus or Lynx rufus)", http://pelotes.jea.com/AnimalFact/Mammal/Mammal.htm, (March, 2001).

"Bobcat (Felis rufus), http://www.primenet.com/~brendel/bobcat.html 2001

 

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