Found in North America where it is the most common wildcat, the Bobcat gets its name from its stubby or “bobbed” tail. Bobcats vary in size depending upon supporting habitat. They generally run from 20 to 24 inches in height and weigh between 13 and 40 lbs. Their reddish brown coat is typically striped and spotted with black which provides excellent camouflage.
Food and Hunting
Rabbits and hares make up 2/3 of the Bobcat’s diet, the remainder consists of squirrels and mice. The Bobcat, like many larger predators, can fast for some time when food is not available, then eats heavily when it is available. The animal caches (stores) and revisits larger kills.
The various calls of the Bobcat sound much like those of the domestic cat, although its scream is piercing. When threatened, the animal utters a short, sudden, and resonant “cough-bark.” It yowls loudest and most often during the breeding season.
Bobcats are solitary animals, coming together only for courtship and copulation. After several months in the den, the kittens begin venturing out in the world with their mother. The young are typically independent and disperse from one another by late fall or early winter.
Threats to Bobcats
Hunters and the automobile are this animal’s worst enemies, but predators such as foxes, owls and adult male Bobcats may attack young.
How to Avoid / Solve Problems:
1. Do not feed bobcats or any wildlife.
2. Never leave pet food outside.
3. Restrict use of birdseed. Bobcats are attracted to the birds and rodents that use the feeder.
4. When / where possible, eliminate outdoor sources of water.
5. Trim and clear near ground level any shrubbery that provides cover for bobcats or prey.
6. Use fencing to help deter bobcats. The fence must be at least six feet tall with the bottom extending at least six inches below ground level. Augment your existing fencing with outwardly inverted fencing, electrical fencing, or cement blocks and large rocks buried outside the fence line to prevent animals from digging into your yard.
7. Actively discourage bobcats by making loud noises and spraying water to make them leave.
8. Battery operated flashing lights, tape recorded human noises, and strategically placed containers holding ammonia-soaked rags may deter bobcats from entering your yard.
9. Keep cats and small dogs indoors, allowing them outside only under strict supervision.
10. Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in well protected areas and in sturdy cages at night. Cages made of chicken wire are meant only for keeping small animals contained. They will not keep bobcats or other predators from entering. Stronger gauge wiring is a necessity in protecting these small animals.
11. Trapping and relocation of bobcats is not a legal or viable alternative. Wild animals are territorial and other bobcats or similar species will simply take over the area vacated by the relocated or dead animal.