Scientific Name: Lynx rufus
When is the best time to view bobcats in Monterey County and where is the best viewing?
Bobcats are found throughout Monterey County. While primarily nocturnal, bobcats can sometimes be spotted during day hikes at area parks including but not limited to Point Lobos State Natural Preserve, Garland Ranch Regional Park, Toro Park and Pinnacles National Park. Bobcats prefer habitat that includes thick brush, chaparral, sagebrush and forests.
While in the same family as the lynx, bobcats are smaller with less pronounced ear tufts. Additionally, lynx are spotted, while a bobcat’s fur is both spotted and striped. Bobcat populations throughout the United States have fluctuated over the years, but remain strong. They are also found in Southern Canada and in parts of Mexico. Based on current populations (estimated 725,000 to 1,020,000 in the US) and wide distribution, they are not considered an endangered species. While it is legal in much of the United States, including California, to trap bobcats for the fur trade, the more immediate threat to bobcat populations is habitat destruction and exposure to rat poison.
Bobcats are solitary animals. In addition, bobcats are primarily nocturnal, preferring to move about and hunt at night. Research indicated this nocturnal behavior is even more prominent in animals living near urban areas. Each bobcat has a home range or territory where they live, hunt and mate. While male territories overlap that of many females and even some other males, female territories are exclusive. Males and females only come together at the breeding season, which is December to April.
Bobcats Fun Facts
- Bobcats are the most common wild cat in North America
- Each night a bobcat will move from 2 to 7 miles along its habitual route
- Bobcat hunts by stalking its prey and then ambushing it with a short chase or pounce up to 12 feet
- After a gestation of approximately 50-70 days, females produce a litter of 1-8 kittens, with the average being 2-3
Habitat: Varied in forests, mountainous areas, semi-deserts as well as brush land; range throughout Northern Mexico to Southern Canada
Size: 16-28 pounds for males and 10-18 for female
Diet: Primary diet of rabbit, but also eat rodents, beaver, pig, birds and bats, and deer
Lifespan: 12-13 years in the wild and 20 in captivity