The bobcat (Lynx rufus), were named for their distinctive, stubby black-tipped tail, which appears to have been cut or “bobbed”. Bobcats exists as members of the cat family Felidae, and range across the entire continental United States, even into parts of Canada and Mexico.
An adaptable predator, bobcats easily prosper in a diverse range of habitats, including forests, swamps, semi-desert, and even the edging of urban areas.
Razor sharp retractable claws, 28 pointed teeth and weighting an average of twenty pounds or roughly twice the size of a house cat, make the bobcat a formidable predator, capable of killing prey much larger than themselves, including juvenile deer. Bobcats possess black-tufted ears, reddish brown colored backs with a lighter colored belly.
Bobcats are patient and methodical hunters, capable of blending seamlessly into their environments and stalking prey with amazing stealth.
Bobcats are solitary, elusive and nocturnal creatures and therefore rarely spotted by humans. This leads some to believe that bobcats are rare or endangered. North American populations, however scientists, estimate bobcat populations to be quite large, with as many as one million bobcats in the United States.
Bobcat mating season occurs in February and March. Females typically birth litters of 3-6 kittens (baby bobcats) born in late April or early May. Kittens begin eating solid food at about eight weeks and begin learning to hunt at five months and will stay with the female for up to a year, before setting out on their own.
Bobcats establish territories with scent markings that include urine and scat. Territory sizes vary widely, measuring up to thirty square miles for males and about five square miles for females. Bobcats will typically maintain a primary or natal den as well as several other “shelter” across these territories, existing in rock caves, hollow logs, fallen trees, or other protected places.
Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. What is the average weight of an adult bobcat?
2. Are bobcats endangered?
3. How many bobcats live in the United States?
4. When do Bobcats mate?
5. How soon after birth can a baby bobcat (kitten) begin to hunt?
6. How big a territory does a male bobcat typically patrol?
7. How big a territory does a female bobcat typically patrol?
8. How do bobcats establish and mark their territories?
9. Where do bobcats typically “den”?
Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. Bobcats weigh an average of twenty pounds or roughly twice the size of a house cat.
2. Bobcats are solitary and elusive creatures but are not rare or endangered.
3. Scientists estimate that as many as one million bobcats populate the United States.
4. Bobcat mating season occurs in February and March.
5. Baby bobcats will begin hunting 5 months after birth but will still stay with their mothers for up to a year before heading out on their own.
6. A male bobcat will typically patrol an area of approximately 30 square miles.
7. A female bobcat will typically patrol an area of approximately 5 square miles.
8. Bobcats establish territories with scent markings that include urine and scat.
9. Bobcats typically den in rock caves, hollow logs, fallen trees, or other protected places.
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