Lakeside Nature Center

Critter Corner - Bobcat
(Lynx rufus)


Bobcats have retractable claws, which means they can pull their claws back into their paws.  They also will sharpen those claws on nearby trees just like a cat using a scratching post!


Bobcats are carnivores and eat many types of animals.  Some of their favorite foods are mice, rats, squirrels, wild turkeys, rabbits and sometimes small deer.  Bobcats have very rough tongues that help them lick the meat off bones.  Bobcats will stalk their prey and then pounce up to 10 feet to catch the animal when it comes near.


Mother bobcat normally gives birth to two kittens in May or June.  She makes a soft nest of dried leaves and moss and cares for them by herself.  The babies have spotted fur and very sharp claws.  When they are 10 days old they open their eyes and soon they venture outside the den to play.  Bobcats live about eight years in the wild.



Bobcats prefer forests with thick underbrush and where there are nearby clearings, rocky outcroppings & glades.  A hollow tree, a thicket or hole in a rocky cliff is used for daily resting places.


Bobcats have territories that they mark with urine and with musk secreted from glands on their backsides.  When upset, a bobcat may growl or give a high-pitched scream.  Sharp teeth and claws are used for defense against intruders and predators.


  • Bobcats are two or three times as big as domestic cats.

  • Bobcats are very curious cats.  Often their tracks can be seen zigzagging through the forest as the find new and interesting things to explore. 

  • They are excellent swimmers and can easily cross large streams.

  • Bobcats are expert tree climbers and will sometimes ambush their prey from a tree branch.

 To learn more about bobcats

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(Photo credits: Head shot, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Second picture, US Fish and Wildlife; Bobcat kitten, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Bobcat on hill, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Young bobcat, Illinois Department of Natural Resources)

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