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The Wild Cat Bobcat
The Bobcat is an excellent feline. A highly adaptable North American wildcat, the Bobcat has managed to survive in healthy numbers in a variety of habitats, consuming a diverse range of prey, both in the wild and in inhabited areas. Classified in the genus Lynx, the Bobcat (Lynx Rufus) is generally considered a more successful hunter than the Canadian Lynx and is perhaps the best medium-sized predator on the continent.
Twice the size of a house cat, the Bobcat weighs fifteen to thirty pounds and is usually three to four feet long. Males are generally larger. Size between subspecies generally depends on terrain, with Bobcats in open northern areas being larger than their southern counterparts. The coat is usually brown with a series of dark stripes on it which help the cat in its camouflage. The distinguishing feature is its short tail (up to half a foot long) which gives it the ‘buggy’ appearance – responsible for the species name. Unlike other bobcats, the Bobcat tail has a white underside with a black solid tip – distinguishing the cat. Despite being a small cat, the Bobcat is quite muscular and its strong, proportionally long, hind legs allow it to produce tremendous speed limits, reaching up to 30mph!
With their keen senses, exceptional agility and amazing strength, Bobcats make great hunters – capable of taking down animals three times their size. This opportunistic cunning hunter’s prey includes insects, rodents, birds, fish, squirrels, rabbits, and even deer! At times it can even prey on foxes, small dogs and domestic cats. The usual hunting technique is to stalk the animal and let it get within twenty to thirty feet as the cat crouches in anticipation. Then the chase begins and the prey is taken with its sharp retractable claws. The cat then bites through the neck, skull or chest of the animal to kill it. In case of large prey, the Bobcat covers it with leaves or debris to return to it in the next two days and feed. Hunting time is usually dusk and dawn, with the cat roaming freely over many miles of range during the night. Despite its cute appearance, the Bobcat is a very ferocious animal and is capable of terrifying growls and growls – misleading many to believe its sounds are like those of a mountain lion.
Solitary like most cats, Bobcats meet when mating. The female is the sole parent and gives birth to three to four kittens after a gestation period of nearly two months, although not all kittens make it to adulthood in the wild. Lifespan is almost twelve years in the wild and over twenty years in captivity. The main threats include vermin, hunting people and cars.
Despite voracious hunting by humans in recent decades, Bobcats’ great adaptability has allowed them to survive in the wild. In fact, its success as a species can be gauged from the fact that despite the great value placed on its fur throughout history, it is still not even a species of concern by international wildlife agencies. Its unique survival instincts have even allowed it to carve out a niche for itself even around urban areas, posing a constant threat, thanks to its great stealth and climbing abilities, to farms and livestock. The best idea would be to stay indoors to avoid the Bobcats. Other alternatives include keeping a dog on site (Bobcats have been known to be hunted and hunted up trees by dogs) and notifying local wildlife officials. Remember, it’s not interspecies conflict, as in big cats, when Bobcats prey on domestic felines, it’s just that domestic cats are part of the menu for these cunning predators in urban environments!
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