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.
Wild Asian Leopard Cats live an average of 8-12 years, but they can live into their 20s in captivity.
Leopard Cats are around the size of a domestic cat. They generally weigh between 6-15 pounds. They average about 16 inches tall and 18-35 inches long.
Leopard cats range from brown to gray. Their bodies and legs have spots and rosettes, and their heads have stripes.
Asian Leopard Cats are nocturnal ambush predators. They are solitary and only come together for breeding. Leopard Cats are very adaptable and capable of living around human villages, but, like bobcats, they are elusive and rarely seen. They are strong climbers and swimmers, but they spend most of their time on the ground.
Asian Leopard Cats are found in a variety of habitats throughout southeast Asia. They can live in forests, scrubland, grasslands and even rural areas near human settlements.
Although this species is very adaptable, they are still threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. They need understory plants in order to hunt. Asian Leopard Cats are also hunted for their fur. They are also threatened by the pet trade. They are often bred with domestic cats in order to produce Bengal cat hybrids.
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.
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.
- 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