The bobcat is a small cat whose habitat ranges from southern Canada to central Mexico. Bobcats are adaptable cats that thrive in most areas, including wooded areas, semi deserts, urban edges, and swamplands. There are currently 13 different subspecies of bobcats recognized. Some are listed as endangered with localized extinction in some areas. Bobcats get their name from their short, ‘bobbed’ tail. The tail of a cat is a good indicator of what the cat is good at. A longer tail is helpful for balance, so those cats who spend time in trees or run quickly after their prey, need longer tails for balance. A cat with a shorter tail is good at jumping straight up and ambushing their prey instead, because they don’t have a tail long enough to help them balance.


Bobcats in the wild live between 7 and 10 years and can live up to 20 years in captivity.

Shape & Size

Adult bobcats range in size from 18.7 to 49.2 inches long with a short, stubby tail that is only between 3.5 to 7.9 inches long.  An average male will weigh around 21 pounds and average female around 15 pounds.

Color Pattern

Bobcats typically have a coat color ranging from gray to brown with a whiskered face and black tufted ears.  The tufts of hair on top of their ears do not extend very far, like they do on the caracal.  Bobcats have dark, visible spots on their white bellies.


Bobcats are mainly crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk when their prey tends to be more active.  Bobcats are solitary cats that will hunt small prey on their own.  During winter months, bobcats will become more diurnal, meaning they are more active during the day, because their prey becomes more active during that time of the year.


Bobcats are very adaptive and can live in a variety of habitats, including wooded areas, swamplands, and even in urban areas.

Principal Threats

The principal threat to the bobcat is habitat loss.  They also are killed by farmers in retaliation for killing their livestock.

Lynx rufus

Range Map


Bobcats can be found all over the United States up into southern Canada and down into Mexico.


Bobcats primarily eat rabbits and hares, small rodents, and occasionally livestock, such as goats or sheep.  They are, however, capable of taking down prey as large as small deer.  If they kill a deer, they will often return to it over the course of a couple days and continue to feed on it.

Reproductive Habits

Female bobcats give birth to typically 2 to 4 kittens after 60 to 70 days of gestation.  The kittens stay with their mothers for about the first year then venture out on their own.


Bobcats are solitary cats that are highly adaptable.  They are found in rural and urban areas alike and, as long as there is suitable habitat with plenty of prey, they will make themselves at home.  Bobcats can often be heard at night fighting with rivals or other animals and many people report that it sounds like a woman’s scream.


Bobcats are currently listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List, though some of the subspecies are becoming locally extinct due to habitat loss.

Fun Facts

  • Bobcats are named for their short tail that appears to be "bobbed"
  • Bobcats are the most abundant wild cat in the United States and have the widest range of all North American cats
  • Bobcats can jump over 10 feet to pounce on their prey
  • Despite their size, bobcats are able to take down small deer as prey

About Carolina Tiger Rescue

Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

1940 Hanks Chapel Rd. Pittsboro, NC 27312 (919) 542-4684 (919) 542-4454

Wildlife should be in the Wild



  • We believe the ideal home for wildlife is in the wild.
  • We believe it is critical to conserve their native habitats.
  • We believe wild animals should not be kept as pets.
  • We believe captive breeding should ONLY be done in accordance with Species Survival plans.
  • We believe all wild animals, both captive and in their native habitats, deserve to be treated with respect and not exploited for entertainment and commercial purposes.

Visit Carolina Tiger Rescue

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Public Tours

Twilight Tours

Coming out for a tour is a great way to learn more about the animals that call Carolina Tiger Recue home. We offer many different types of tours.  Public tours are great for adults and families. Twilight tours are for adults only (18 years of age and older). Tiger Tales are a perfect option if you want to bring out really young children. Find the tour that is right for you and enjoy a walk through the sanctuary.

For all tours, tickets must be purchased in advance.

Have Fun Learning at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Field Trips

Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips link

Virtual Field Trips

Education is key to our mission.  We enjoy teaching "kids" of all ages!  Our field trips, both virtual and onsite, are ideal for groups of kids.  Our "Kid for a Day" Adult Camp provides a unique learning opportunity while allowing adults to channel their inner child.  While all of these opportunities are structured differently, in the end we want everyone to walk away knowing more about the animals we care for and what they can do to help protect them.

Bobcat at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Kinkajou at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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NGSD at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Porcupine at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Raccoon at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Red Wolf at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Red Wolves
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Get involved at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual Volunteering

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Group Volunteering

There are so many ways to be a part of Carolina  Tiger Rescue.  Individual volunteers are able to help in many aspects of our work, including animal care, tour guides, construction, and gift shop assistance.  Work groups come from community groups, colleges, work places, and more!  It’s a great way to spend a day and it helps care for the cats.