Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Carnivora · Felidae · Lynx rufus
  Smithsonian Institution
  Copyright Notice
  Privacy Notice
Lynx rufus


Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

Click to see a 3-D view.
Image of Lynx rufus
Click to enlarge. (86 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

The Bobcat is the most widely distributed native cat in North America. Bobcats occupy many habitat types, from desert to swamp to mountains. They are mostly nocturnal predators, taking quarry ranging in size from mouse to deer. Rabbits and hares make up a large part of the bobcat's diet. Like Lynx, male and female Bobcats maintain territories by scent-marking. An individuals territory does not overlap with another Bobcats of the same sex, but females home ranges can fall within the territories of males. Females breed sooner than males, at about one year of age; males are ready to breed when they are about two. One litter, with an average of three kittens, is born each year.

Also known as:
Wildcat, Bay Lynx, Barred Bobcat, Pallid Bobcat, Red Lynx

Average: 869 mm males; 786 mm females
Range: 475-1,252 mm males; 610-1,219 mm females

Average: 12 kg males; 9 kg females
Range: 7.2-31 kg males; 3.8-24 kg females


Schreber, J.C.D., 1777.  in Schreber's Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen, Wolfgang Walther, Erlangen, 7 volumes, 1774-1846; 3(25):pl. 109.B[1777]; text 3(24):412[1777].


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Lynx rufus

Image of Lynx rufus
Click to enlarge. (96kb)

Skull of Lynx rufus
Click to enlarge. (27kb)

Bones and Teeth

Lynx rufus
Top (proximal) and bottom (distal) ends of the femur. Click to enlarge. (6kb)

Lynx rufus
Left lower carnassial tooth (left), with two adjacent premolars (right). Click to enlarge. (9kb)


Lynx rufus
Right shoulder blade. Click to enlarge. (10kb)

Lynx rufus
Right upper carnassial (center) tooth, with adjacent premolar (right) and molar. Click to enlarge. (11kb)