Lynx rufus - (Schreber, 1777)
Bobcat
Other English Common Names: bobcat
Synonym(s): Felis rufus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lynx rufus (Schreber, 1777) (TSN 180582)
French Common Names: lynx roux
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106470
Element Code: AMAJH03020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Carnivores
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae Lynx
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lynx rufus
Taxonomic Comments: Placed in genus Felis by some authors. Jones et al. (1992), Wozencraft (in Wilson and Reeder 1993), and Lariviere and Walton (1997) included the bobcat in the genus Lynx. See Sikes and Kennedy (1992) for information on cranial variation in the eastern U.S.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 19Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Extensive range in much of North America; many occurrences; overall population probably is stable, with local increases and declines; locally threatened by excessive harvest and habitat loss.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (18Jul2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S4), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S4), Connecticut (S2?), Delaware (SNR), District of Columbia (SH), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4), Illinois (S3), Indiana (S3), Iowa (S3), Kansas (S4), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S4), Maine (S5), Maryland (S3), Massachusetts (S4), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (SNR), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S4), Montana (S5), Navajo Nation (S5), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (S5), New Hampshire (S4), New Jersey (S2), New Mexico (S4), New York (S4), North Carolina (S4), North Dakota (SU), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S4), Oregon (S4), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (SU), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S5), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Utah (S5), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S4), Washington (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S4S5), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S3), British Columbia (S5), Manitoba (S3), New Brunswick (S4), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S4), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S3S4)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS:LE,PDL
Comments on USESA: Subspecies escuinapae of central Mexico is listed by USFWS as Endangered, but a proposal to delist this subspecies has been announced (Federal Register 2005 May 19).
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Central Mexico north through much of the contiguous U.S. to southern Canada. There has been a reduction in range, primarily in the northern part, associated with agriculture and the removal of forests (McCord and Cardoza 1982).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: No exact figures but many states report "many" EOs.

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: No exact figures; many individuals per state.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Major threats are local excessive harvest by humans (especially in the north where the pelt is more valuable for fur) and conversion of habitat to commercial, residential, or agricultural uses (McCord and Cardoza 1982). Bobcats can tolerate some habitat disturbance but usually are absent from areas of intensive farming or with dense human populations. In Indiana, poorly regulated shooting and trapping are threats to the bobcat (Mumford and Whitaker 1982). Another possible threat is predation from increasing coyote populations (Caire et al. 1989); bobcat numbers are generally low in areas where coyote numbers are high, even if suitable habitat is present (Toweill 1979). In North Dakota, the rapidly expanding coyote population is considered a threat to bobcats (Kreil 1993, pers. commun.).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Net trend is probably stable at present, though some areas are experiencing declines and others, increases. Populations declined in the 1900s in Oklahoma (1971-1981; Caire et al. 1989), in the Midwest (e.g, Hoffmesiter 1989), and along the central Atlantic coast (McCord and Cardoza 1982). In contrast, Iowa populations increased between 1983 and 1993 (Howell 1993, pers. comm.), populations in British Columbia are thought to be stable to increasing, populations in Tennessee are believed to be increasing (Hatcher 1993, pers. comm.), range and abundance of bobcats in Michigan are probably increasing (Earle 1993, pers. comm.), and Virginia populations were stable or increasing in the 1980s (Handley 1991).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Obtain better information on current distribution and abundance.

Protection Needs: In areas throughout the range, maintain or reassemble large blocks of relatively wild habitat (e.g., low road density) with sufficient corridors to allow population exchange among local populations.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Central Mexico north through much of the contiguous U.S. to southern Canada. There has been a reduction in range, primarily in the northern part, associated with agriculture and the removal of forests (McCord and Cardoza 1982).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, PEexotic, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
IA Allamakee (19005)*, Appanoose (19007), Boone (19015), Cherokee (19035), Clayton (19043), Dallas (19049), Davis (19051), Delaware (19055), Des Moines (19057), Dubuque (19061), Fremont (19071), Hamilton (19079), Jackson (19097), Jefferson (19101)*, Jones (19105), Lee (19111), Louisa (19115), Madison (19121), Mills (19129), Monona (19133)*, Page (19145), Pottawattamie (19155), Story (19169), Van Buren (19177), Wapello (19179), Warren (19181)*, Winneshiek (19191), Woodbury (19193)*
IN Adams (18001), Allen (18003), Bartholomew (18005), Brown (18013), Carroll (18015), Cass (18017), Clark (18019), Clay (18021), Clinton (18023), Crawford (18025), Daviess (18027), De Kalb (18033), Dearborn (18029), Decatur (18031), Delaware (18035), Dubois (18037), Elkhart (18039), Fayette (18041), Floyd (18043), Fountain (18045)*, Franklin (18047), Fulton (18049), Greene (18055), Hamilton (18057), Hancock (18059), Harrison (18061), Hendricks (18063), Henry (18065), Howard (18067), Huntington (18069), Jackson (18071), Jefferson (18077), Johnson (18081), Knox (18083), Kosciusko (18085), La Porte (18091), Lagrange (18087), Lawrence (18093), Marion (18097), Martin (18101), Miami (18103), Monroe (18105), Montgomery (18107), Morgan (18109), Newton (18111), Noble (18113), Orange (18117), Owen (18119), Parke (18121), Perry (18123), Pike (18125), Porter (18127), Posey (18129), Putnam (18133), Ripley (18137), Rush (18139), Scott (18143), Spencer (18147), St. Joseph (18141), Starke (18149), Steuben (18151), Sullivan (18153), Switzerland (18155), Tippecanoe (18157), Vanderburgh (18163), Vermillion (18165), Wabash (18169), Warrick (18173), Washington (18175), Wayne (18177), White (18181), Whitley (18183)
NJ Bergen (34003), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Essex (34013), Gloucester (34015), Hunterdon (34019), Mercer (34021), Monmouth (34025), Morris (34027), Ocean (34029), Passaic (34031), Salem (34033), Somerset (34035), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
OH Adams (39001), Ashtabula (39007), Athens (39009), Belmont (39013), Coshocton (39031), Fairfield (39045), Gallia (39053)*, Guernsey (39059), Hamilton (39061), Harrison (39067), Hocking (39073)*, Jackson (39079), Jefferson (39081), Lake (39085), Lawrence (39087), Mahoning (39099), Meigs (39105), Monroe (39111), Morgan (39115), Muskingum (39119), Noble (39121), Perry (39127), Pike (39131), Portage (39133), Scioto (39145), Summit (39153), Vinton (39163), Washington (39167)
PA Monroe (42089), Pike (42103)*, Sullivan (42113)*, Wyoming (42131)
RI Providence (44007)*, Washington (44009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Blackstone (01090003)+*, Narragansett (01090004)+*, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+
02 Rondout (02020007)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Lackawaxen (02040103)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock (02050106)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+*
04 Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+, St. Joseph (04100003)+, St. Marys (04100004)+, Cuyahoga (04110002)+, Ashtabula-Chagrin (04110003)+, Grand (04110004)+
05 Mahoning (05030103)+, Upper Ohio-Wheeling (05030106)+, Little Muskingum-Middle Island (05030201)+, Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202)+, Hocking (05030204)+, Tuscarawas (05040001)+, Muskingum (05040004)+, Wills (05040005)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Whitewater (05080003)+, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+, Upper Wabash (05120101)+, Salamonie (05120102)+, Mississinewa (05120103)+, Eel (05120104)+, Middle Wabash-Deer (05120105)+, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Wildcat (05120107)+, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Sugar (05120110)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+, Lower Wabash (05120113)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Eel (05120203)+, Driftwood (05120204)+, Upper East Fork White (05120206)+, Muscatatuck (05120207)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Patoka (05120209)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+
07 Coon-Yellow (07060001)+*, Upper Iowa (07060002)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Turkey (07060004)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+, Flint-Henderson (07080104)+, South Skunk (07080105)+, Skunk (07080107)+*, Lower Iowa (07080209)+, Middle Des Moines (07100004)+, North Raccoon (07100006)+, South Raccoon (07100007)+, Lake Red Rock (07100008)+, Lower Des Moines (07100009)+, Bear-Wyaconda (07110001)+, North Fabius (07110002)+, Kankakee (07120001)+, Iroquois (07120002)+
10 Lower Platte (10200202)+, Blackbird-Soldier (10230001)+*, Little Sioux (10230003)+, Monona-Harrison Ditch (10230004)+*, Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006)+, Keg-Weeping Water (10240001)+, West Nishnabotna (10240002)+, East Nishnabotna (10240003)+, Nishnabotna (10240004)+, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, West Nodaway (10240009)+, Nodaway (10240010)+, Upper Chariton (10280201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Medium-sized cat.
Reproduction Comments: Breeds mid-winter through spring, or possibly at any time of year in some areas. Litter of 1-7 (usually 2-3) is born after 50-70 day gestation. In the south, reportedly may produce a second litter in early August. Both parents feed young while kits are in den. Young are weaned at about 2 months, stay with mother until early fall. First breeds usually at 1-2 years.
Ecology Comments: Recorded population densities: 4-5 per 100 sq km in California, Idaho, and Minnesota; about 25/100 sq km in Arizona; 115-153/100 sq km in California; 500/100 sq km in Florida (Kitchener 1991, Jones and Smith 1979, Jackson 1961). Low natural mortality rate in adults. Solitary except when breeding. Populations may be limited by coyote predation in the western U.S. (see Caire et al. 1989).

In Mississippi, home ranges of deceased male and female resident bobcats were filled by transients or neighboring residents of the same sex; replacement bobcats used similar home ranges (and in some cases core areas) as the residents they replaced (Benson et al. 2004).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Home range generally is less than 100 sq km, often much less; male range is larger than female range (e.g., Lovallo and Anderson 1996). Commonly covers 3-11 km on a hunt (Handley 1991).

Home ranges in Louisiana about 5 square kilometers for males and 1 square kilometer for females (Hall and Newsom 1978). In Idaho, home ranges averaged 42 square kilometers for males and 19 square kilometers for females (Bailey 1974).

Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Desert, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Various habitats including deciduous-coniferous woodlands and forest edge, hardwood forests, swamps, forested river bottomlands, brushlands, deserts, mountains, and other areas with thick undergrowth. Large tracts of habitat are most favorable. Primarily terrestrial. When inactive, occupies rocky cleft, cave, hollow log, space under fallen tree, etc.; usually changes shelter daily. Young are born in a den in a hollow log, under a fallen tree, in a rock shelter, or similar site.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Prefers small mammals, especially lagomorphs. Occasionally birds, other vertebrates, and carrion.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Mainly nocturnal/crepuscular, sometimes diurnal in winter.
Length: 125 centimeters
Weight: 31000 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Harvest often comprises the major source of mortality in exploited populations (Litvaitus et al. 1987). Hair brittle and pelt formerly of limited economic value until recent demand for spotted cat furs (Caire et al. 1989). In Virginia, pelt value was about $38 in 1986 (Handley 1991). Infrequently and locally a problem due to predation on small livestock.
Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Determine mortality rates of juveniles and the importance of dispersal in maintaining stable populations. Compare demographics of exploited vs. unexploited populations in different regions. Investigate population restoration methods. Conduct snow tracking studies to determine behaviour patterns (McCord and Cardoza 1982). Study relationship between bobcats and coyotes.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: None.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Occurrences generally should be based on major occupied physiographic or ecogeographic units that are separated along areas of relatively low bobcat density or use (e.g., major urban areas, very rugged alpine ridges, very wide bodies of water, sparsely used habitats). These units may be based on available bobcat sightings/records or on movements of radio-tagged individuals, or they may be based on the subjective determinations by biologists familiar with bobcats and their habitats. Where occupied habitat is exceptionally extensive and continuous, that habitat may be subdivided into multiple contiguous occurrences as long as that does not reduce the occurrence rank (i.e., do not split up an A occurrence into multiple occurrences that would be ranked less than A).
Separation Justification: Bobcats are highly mobile. Dispersal generally is less than 50 km but may at least 150-200 km during food scarcity (Knick and Bailey 1986). Populations and metapopulations tend to encompass large areas. Hence, meaningful bobcat occurrences should represent large occupied landscape units, but these often will not be demographically isolated from other occurrences.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2.5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a home range of 5 square kilometers. In the northwest, this distance may be increased to 7 kilometers, based on larger home ranges there (Bailey 1974).
Date: 28Sep2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20Sep1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Van Dam, B., J. Soule, F. Dirrigl, Jr., and G. Hammerson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 04Mar2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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