Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
- The Bobcat is a medium-sized, reddish brown or grayish cat. Its ears usually have small tufts at the tips, and its fur is longer on the sides of its head than on the rest of its body, forming a ruff. They have a short tail, long legs, and large feet.
- Life History
- The reclusive Bobcat is active largely at night, although they frequently leave cover and begin hunting long before sundown. In hilly country, their presence can often be detected by their habit of dropping their feces on large rocks on promontories or ridges. Also, like the Mountain Lion, the males make scrapes-small piles of leaves, sticks, and so forth on which they urinate-along their travel routes, but these scrapes are smaller. They den in crevices in canyon walls, in boulder piles, or in thickets. The dens can be readily recognized by the strong odor emanating from them. Expert at climbing trees, Bobcats seek refuge in them when available.
Their diet consists mainly of small mammals and birds. Among the mammals, wood rats, ground squirrels, mice, and rabbits supply the bulk of the diet. Although deer occasionally are killed and eaten, most of the deer meat found in Bobcat stomachs has been carrion. They also prey upon domestic sheep, goats, and poultry but the damage done is rarely great.
The breeding season begins usually in February, and after a gestation period of about 60 days the two to seven young are born. Average litter size is three. The young are well-furred and spotted at birth; their eyes open in about 9 days. The kittens are weaned when about 2 months old. They remain with their mother until early fall, at which time they begin to fend for themselves.
- Bobcats live in a variety of habitats, but they favor rocky canyons or outcrops when they are available. Otherwise, they choose thickets for protection and den sites. These cats are highly adaptable, and in most places have been able to thrive in spite of increasing habitat loss due to human settlement.
- Bobcats are distributed throughout Texas.