• The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a widespread North American lynx found throughout the contiguous United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. Generally solitary hunters, both male and female bobcats maintain individual territories through much of the year. These ubiquitous predators adapt well to many different habitats, from alpine forests to coastal swamps to desert scrub. Regardless of their location, bobcats are heavily dependent on rabbits and small rodents for food.

    Most populations of bobcat have increased in number in recent years, in contrast to the early 1900s when they were made locally extinct throughout much of the American Midwest. Today, bobcat populations overall are large and stable, but local protections and attitudes toward these cats vary. Throughout much of the United States, bobcats are hunted for their pelts for export in the fur trade. In agricultural regions, bobcats occasionally take domestic farm animals and are subsequently treated as pests, generally being hunted or poisoned. The species is making a dramatic recovery in the Midwest, where they are now common in states such as Illinois and Indiana, though they are still classified as endangered in Ohio. With natural recovery and successful reintroduction efforts, like those in Georgia, the bobcat is a conservation success story.

    1. Where can the bobcat be found, and how many subspecies are there?

      The 12 subspecies of bobcat can be found in Canada, Mexico, and the contiguous United States in a variety of habitats.

    2. Why are bobcats hunted?

      Bobcats are hunted for their fur or because they are seen as pests in agricultural areas.

    3. How have bobcat populations in the Midwest United States changed?

      Though still rare in some states, the bobcat is now common in several locations in the Midwest after being driven to extinction in the early 1900s.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    alpine Adjective

    having to do with mountains.

    contiguous Adjective

    land, space, or features that are in direct contact.

    locally extinct Adjective

    no longer existing in a given region.

    lynx Noun

    large cat native to Norh America.

    pelt Noun

    animal skin or fur.

    ubiquitous Adjective

    existing or seeming to exist everywhere.