The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is the most common wildcat in North America and one of two cats found within the Point Reyes National Seashore. It is much smaller than the mountain lion; however, it is not as wary of humans and is often encountered during daylight.
Bobcats are found throughout North America and in most habitats within the Seashore. They are most commonly found in the coastal scrub, grasslands, riparian lowlands and meadows bordered by forests. Home ranges vary in size and scent marking is used to mark these areas. Their primary food sources are rodents and rabbits, but they will also hunt other small mammals such as mice and squirrels. Bobcats use the same hunting routes many times and cache (store) and revisit larger food items that they cannot finish.
Mating occurs in winter with females producing 2-3 young on average, born between April and May. Bobcats can live 10-14 years in the wild.
The bobcat’s most defining characteristics are its short stubby tail, which is light-colored underneath with black bars above, and its tufted ears. Its fur is tawny colored with variable black spotting. Males are larger than females and their weight ranges from 12-25 pounds on average.
Bobcats are abundant within the Seashore. However, they can compete with coyotes for resources; in general, areas where bobcats are scarce seem to have greater numbers of coyotes. However, the relatively recent return of coyotes to Point Reyes in the last few decades has not seemed to effect the number of bobcats in the area.
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Found throughout the Seashore, but more common in coastal scrub areas.
- California Fish and Wildlife: Bobcat info sheet
- Animal Diversity Web: University of Michigan: Bobcat Information
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- Park Wildlife Lists
- Park Plant Lists
Content sourced from Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula by Jules G. Evens, An Annotated Checklist of Mammals: Point Reyes National Seashore by Gary M. Fellers and John Dell’Osso, and The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals by John O. Whitaker, Jr.