Bobcat

Habitats

Bobcats use a wide variety of habitats. They are at home in swamps, wooded areas (both hardwood and coniferous) and mountainous regions. Resting and activity areas center around rocky ledges, or dense thickets.

Behavior

Bobcats are solitary animals and only associate briefly during mating season. They are most active about three hours before sunset to midnight and in the last hour before dawn to three hours after sunrise.

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Size

Males are larger than females averaging 14 to 29 pounds. One male from Louisiana weighed 45 pounds. In North Carolina they are most common on the coastal plain and in the mountains.

Hunting Habits

Bobcats are secretive and opportunistic predators. Although they take a wide variety of prey (including occasional deer) they feed mostly on rabbits and large rodents. They depend heavily on their excellent hearing and binocular vision to locate their prey. 

When hunting animals of different sizes and abundance they employ different hunting behavior. For small, plentiful prey (mice and squirrels) they wait and pounce. When hunting rabbits they watch, stalk and rush their prey. When prey is scarce they move more frequently and may attack deer (mostly fawns) when bedded down.

Mating Season

The mating season for bobcats is in February and March. The young are born in spring or early summer.

Kittens

The one to six (usually two to four) kittens are born in what is called a natal den. Usually this is a cave or rock shelter if available, or if not brush piles, thickets, or hollow logs may be used. Kittens are heavily furred and spotted at birth and weigh 10 to 12 ounces. They open their eyes by day nine or ten and are out exploring at four to five weeks. By fall they weigh about ten pounds and are hunting by themselves. They remain with their mother for their first year.