Bobcats are the second species of wild cat that is found at the RVCT. They are occasionally spotted in the mornings and evenings but are difficult to spot due to their recluse nature. Because they frequent the same route, they are easiest to photograph on trail cams. They prefer to stay around woodland areas where they can easily climb as an escape route, but can be found in other areas with cover or a good vantage point where it can keep an eye out for prey.
They are significantly smaller than the mountain lion and belong to the Lynx family. Bobcats grow to a length of 18.7 to 49.2 inches long from head to tail, averaging 32.6 inches long. Their color varies greatly with some individuals being tan to light- orange to grey-brown and most commonly feature a speckled pattern with black tipped pointed ears. Their namesake is based on their unique tail, which is short and “bobbed.”
Bobcats are excellent hunters that are primarily active during the night. Like other cats they are very stealthy and quick and will take advantage of prey when the opportunity presents itself. They are exclusively carnivorous and feed mostly on small game such as rodents, (gophers, rabbits and mice), insects, birds, skunks and will sometimes take small deer. When larger prey are taken, bobcats will bury their kill under dirt or leaves and return to feed later.
Bobcats are solitary and guard a home territory from 1-18 miles in size with an average population density of 5 miles per cat depending on the availability of food. Males tend to have larger territories and overlap 2-3 female home ranges.