side view of a bobcat walking through the snow
Bobcat a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae photo during winter in West Virginia. © Kent Mason

Animals we Protect

Bobcat

Lynx rufus

Meet the Bobcat

The most common wildcat in North America is the bobcat, so named because of its short black, white-tipped tail. The bobcat can weigh up to 20 pounds, reach nearly 2 feet in length, and stand 2 to 3.5 feet high.

Despite its striking resemblance to the household cat, the bobcat is a fierce predator. Preferring rabbits to anything else, it will also prey on rodents, birds, raccoons, foxes and even adult deer and domestic cats on occasion.

The bobcat and the lynx have very similar markings. The easiest way to tell them apart is by size - the lynx being much larger than the bobcat.

The North American bobcat lives in a variety of habitats, from the forests of New Jersey to its preferred habitat in the brush on the arid mountainsides of California. Bobcats typically stay away from metropolitan areas, but if a ranch or farm lies within their territory, they will likely try to take advantage of farm animals for food.

Bobcats have adapted well across various neighborhoods in Florida. They prefer deep forests for their thick patches and dense shrubs but are easily adaptable to swamps, rural, urban and suburban areas.

Protecting the Bobcat 

Because the bobcat ranges many miles, connected lands are critical for their survival. In New Jersey, where the bobcat was once nearly extinct, TNC is working to conserve a corridor of connected lands—Bobcat Alley— to benefit the species’ population. 

A similar corridor exists in New Hampshire that helps bobcats and other species travel from Canada through northern New England. TNC is collaborating with other organizations, together called the Staying Connected Initiative, to ensure this habitat stays intact.

In Florida, TNC is using a different tactic. By partnering with Big Cat Rescue, TNC is releasing bobcats into the Tiger Creek Preserve. One cat released there in 2017 had been found previously by good samaritans when it was just a two-pound kitten. After being rescued and treated, the kitten was prepped to go to Tiger Creek, where Conservancy staff expect her to thrive in the in the healthy, maintained and protected habitat.