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The name bobcat is an abbreviation of bob-tailed cat, which refers to its short, dark ringed tail. Bobcats have also been called â€świld catsâ€ť
Bobcat is a medium sized cat with a ruff of fur around the sides of the face. They weigh between 13-30 pounds, stand 21 inches high and are 30-50 inches long. The bobcats in the North tend to be larger than those in the south. Their coat color varies and has been recorded in shades of light gray, yellowish-brown, buff-brown, and reddish-brown.
They are always spotted to some extent, with some patterned only on the undersides, and others having spots on the sides and chest backs too. The southern Bobcats seem to have a more spotted coat, with the spots being much smaller than the northern cats. Both melanistic and albinistic Bobcats have been reported.
They are often confused with their larger feline cousin the Lynx, but can be easily distinguished by their tail tips. The tail of the Lynx looks as though it was dipped in an inkwell being black all the way around, whereas the Bobcatâ€™s tail appears to have been painted black on top and white on the bottom.
While the Canadian lynx is almost wholly dependent upon the snowshoe hare for its food, the bobcat is not so restricted in its diet. Bobcats are opportunists and will eat arthropods (grasshoppers, beetles, crayfish), prairie dogs, porcupines, bats, peccaries, snakes (even rattlesnakes) and birds. They are known to take domestic cats, carrion, grass, and fruit like cactus apples and cultivated grapes and pears. Bobcats have been known to become food for pumas and coyotes.
Diets vary by region and season. In one study, where cotton rats and cotton-tail rabbits were extremely abundant, the bobcats were recorded to prey on only seven species. When these populations crashed, prey selection expanded to 21 different species. Male bobcats are capable of killing deer, particularly white-tailed deer.
Female and young bobcats are restricted to smaller animals. This reduces a certain degree of competition between the sexes. A 75 kg deer is suffocated as the cat bites through its trachea. Smaller animals are bitten an the back of the neck. Winter snow makes running difficult for the deer, so they become vulnerable to bobcat predation. In snow, male bobcats can maintain or even improve their body condition, unlike the females whose condition declines.
Like many felids, bobcats are solitary animals. The male and female interact almost exclusively during the mating season. These cats rarely vocalize, although they often yowl and hiss during the mating season.Bobcats are basically terrestrial and nocturnal, although they are good climbers and are often active at dusk as well as during the night.
Life Cycle:The mating system of bobcats is similar to that of domestic cats. Males and females only associate for the brief time required for courtship and copulation, and both males and females may have multiple partners.
Bobcats usually mate in the early spring, although the timing is variable. After a gestation of 60 to 70 days, a litter of about 3 kittens is born. The young open their eyes for the first time when they are 10 days old, and they nurse through their second month. Young bobcats disperse during the winter, when they are about 8 months old.
All female eutherian mammals provide nourishment to their young before birth through the placenta. After the young are born, the motherâ€™s milk provides them with further nourishment. Female bobcats bring meat to their young and teach them how to hunt after they are weaned, staying with them for almost a year. Male bobcats do not help raise their offspring. Bobcats live up to 12 years in the wild. In captivity, they may live up to 32 years
Threats: little cat was the most heavily harvested and traded member of the cat family for the past 20 years. The interest in Bobcat pelts today was declining due to international awareness of the cruel methods of trapping and prohibitions against trade of animals trapped using these methods up until 2008 when Russia began buying all the bobcat pelts they could get their hands on. This surge in demand threatens to wipe the bobcat out of America. The bobcat also battles the ever growing human population and its destruction of all habitat in its path.
Bobcat with kitten
According to 2001 statistics provided from actual sales of hunting permits, over 40,000 bobcats are still being killed each year. This figure does not include all the bobcats killed by hunters who do not buy licenses nor report their kills. Less than 3% of our population are hunters but they kill over 100 million animals each year for sport.
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