(Lynx rufus)

Bobcat Rocklin Placer-County CA
Bobcats first appeared in North America about 1.8 million years ago and today are the most common wildcat in America. Populations in many mid-western and eastern states of the US were severely reduced in the early to mid 1900s, when the Bobcat was hunted for its fur. In the 1970s international laws began to protect the world's spotted cats which helped numbers rise. Dangers from humans that the bobcat population faces today include habitat loss and exposure to rat poisons. Aside from mortality, rat poisons can cause increased rates of severe mite infestations (known as notoedric mange) by weakening the individual's immune system. Bobcats are also susceptible to many of the same diseases that may infect domestic cats.

Bobcat behavior is crepuscular, a term meaning that the species is usually active from 3 hours before sunset until about midnight, and then again before dawn until 3 hours after sunrise. They may alter this behavior in the winter months and become more diurnal (active during daylight hours) in response to the activity of their prey. Males and females live solitary lives in territories that can be anywhere from 25 to 1.5 square miles in size. Male territories may overlap while female territories do not. They typically mark the area of their territory by clawing prominent trees or marking via feces/ urine scent. Within their territory Bobcats usually have one main den and several auxiliary shelters which may be any protected area such as brush piles, thickets, hollow logs, or rock ledges.

Bobcat Rocklin Placer-County CA
Bobcat Rocklin Placer-County CA

The photos in this post were taken of two Bobcats first sighted together in the Rocklin CA area Oct 12, 2016. By best guess of the observers it is thought that they may be young siblings still working on their hunting skills and have yet to establish their own territories. In this particular location the Desert Cottontail Rabbit population seems to be doing well and may be a possible prey item for the cats. The period during which Bobcat kittens leave their mother and move out of their territory can be perilous. According to some studies juveniles have mortality rates of 0.56 to 0.67 shortly after leaving their mothers.
Bobcat Rocklin Placer-County CA

The Bobcat's scientific species name rufus refers to their brown coat coloration however coats can be variable from tan to grayish-brown. Body markings are spotted or lined in dark brown or black. Ears are black-tipped and pointed with short, black tufts.
Weight: Females - 8.8 to 33.7 lbs. Males - 14 to 40 lbs.
Height: 12 to 24 in from ground to shoulders (about twice the size of a domestic cat.) Bobbed tail is about 3.5 to 7.9 in long.

Their hind legs are longer than their front legs, giving the species a bobbing gait. They are excellent climbers and are able to swim but tend to avoid water.
Diet consists of primarily small mammals (with a preference for rabbits and hares), but they also may eat birds, reptiles and insects. They are able to survive for long periods without food, but will eat heavily when prey is abundant. Hunts by stalking its prey and then ambushing it with a short chase or pounce up to 12 feet.
Can be found from Southern Canada through the US to Central Mexico.
Breeding Season: December to April. Due to their solitary nature this is the only time males and females are found in the same location.
Breeding Age: 1 to 2 years old.
Gestation : 50 to 70 days. Kittens are usually born around early spring.
Litter Size: 1 to 6 kittens. Kittens eyes are open by day 9 or 10. They eat solid food at around ~ 2 months. They leave the den to follow the mother at 3-5 months and learn to hunt at ~ 5 months. Between 8 and 11 months, they are evicted from their mother's territory (although in some instances they have stayed with the mother for longer periods).
Lifespan: On average 7 years (rarely exceeds 10 years). The oldest wild Bobcat on record was 16 years old (the oldest captive Bobcat was 32 years old).

The above photo is of an adult male Bobcat avoiding getting wet as he crosses the creek in the Secret Ravine area of Rocklin 2015.


  1. "Bobcat (Lynx rufus)". Taxa, All Species, Catalog of Life: 2012, Retrieved October, 2016.
  2. "Bobcats". Laurel Klein Serieys, Ph.D, Urban Carnivores. Retrieved October, 2016.
  3. "Bobcat". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October, 2016.
  4. "Bobcats". Basic Facts About Bobcats, Defenders of Wildlife. Retrieved October, 2016.