Lynx rufus Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Bobcats are medium-sized cats; males weigh about 12 kg (26 lb), females slightly smaller at 9 kg. They have a short tail, only 4-6 inches long, white underneath and dark bands on top. Their large ears are tipped with a short tuft of black hairs. The backs of the ears are black with a prominent white spot. There is considerable variation in coloration, and interestingly, 10 of 11 records of melanistic (black) individuals are from Florida and all Florida records are from the southern part of the state.
Bobcats prefer areas with dense cover or uneven, broken terrain. They will use brush piles, hollow logs, caves, and dense bushes for shelter.
Hunting primarily at night, bobcats kill mammals ranging in size from mice to deer, as well as fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds. Most prey weigh about 2 kg (4 lb), but these cats are capable of taking prey 10 times their own weight. In Florida, cotton rats, rabbits and birds are major prey items. Bobcats in the Big Cypress National Preserve regularly kill both adult female deer and fawns.
top of page | back to mammals