BOBCATS:

A Day in the Life




Diet/Hunting


Bobcats are carnivores. They eat rodents (including squirrels, rats, and rabbits), birds, fish, insects, foxes, minks, skunks, small dogs, domesticated cats, sheep, deer, whooping cranes, and goats. The following video gives an accurate portrayal of a bobcat hunting a gopher; It can be seen below.




Family Life


Bobcats tend to be territorial and solitary animals. Female bobcats do not share territories with other females, whereas male bobcat territories tend to overlap. Bobcat territories are marked by their scent markings and territory sizes are generally 25-30 square miles for males and about five square miles for females.


Each bobcat may have several dens, one main den and several auxiliary dens, in its territory. The main den usually a cave or rock shelter, but can be a hollow log, fallen tree, or some other protected place. Auxiliary dens located in less-visited portions of the home range and are often brush piles, rock ledges or stumps. These are also called shelter dens.


The only time bobcats in the wild choose not to be solitary animals is during their breeding season, which usually occurs in February/March. Female bobcats tend to produce a litter of about six kittens after a gestation of 60 to 70 days. If they don't have a litter in the spring or if the litter does not survive, the female bobcat may mate later in the year and give birth in any given month. The young kittens remain with their mother for 9 to 12 month to learn to hunt so that they can survive on their own.




Communication Behavior


Bobcats use their urine as a method of “scent marking” their territory. They also scratch trees, their droppings or places where they urinated to spread their chemical communication across their territories. This form of communication helps bobcats distinguish the current occupancy of a particular territory. Bobcats tend to vocalize their communication during mating season more so than another other time of the year.


The bobcat's growls and snarls are so deep and fearsome; they sound as if they are coming from a much bigger animal. Their snarl can be heard below:




Enrichment Activities While in Captivity


To recreate their natural environment zoos and conservatories usually include a swimming area for the bobcats. To simulate the bobcats’ hunting behaviors tennis balls, pumpkins, and cantaloupes are used as interactive treats.