(Lynx rufus)

The Bobcat is a well-adapted predator of Nevada, a medium-sized carnivore about twice as large as the domestic cat. This cat is known for its distinctive black bars on its forelegs, wisps of hair on its ears, and a black-tipped, stubby tail from which it derives its name. The Bobcat is not a picky eater, though it prefers rabbits and hares; it will hunt anything from insects, chickens, rodents, to small deer. Its selection on prey highly depends on its location, habitat, season of hunt, and abundance of prey, making it one of the most adaptable and resilient predators in the wild. Like most cats, the Bobcat is territorial and largely solitary with some slight overlap in its home ranges.

The most striking aspect about Bobcats are their well-defined territories, which vary in size depending on gender and the distribution of prey. Males mark their home range well and within its territory, it sets up numerous places for shelters. He usually chooses one predominant "main den" and sets up several auxiliary shelters scattered throughout its range, such as hollow logs, brush piles, thickets, or under rock ledges. Bobcats utilize their surroundings much in the same way Mountain Lions do, hunting by stalking its prey, and then ambushing it for a quick kill. They have excellent hearing and vision and their climbing skills allow them to reach areas most other predators cannot. However, the bobcat is able to survive for long periods without food, but will eat heavily when prey is abundant. Typically, he will only kill larger game during lean periods so it can return to its prey and feed on it.


In Nevada, Bobcats are quite common and their population densities vary, again, greatly depending on prey abundance. Bobcats can also go weeks without water, meaning they can do just fine in much drier ranges unsuitable for other predators. Good numbers of them have been tagged and recorded in the ranges of Central Nevada, such as the Toiyabe, Monitor, Toquima, and Shoshone Ranges, with steady populations in the Goshute, Schell Creek, Egan, and southern Snake Ranges of White Pine County and western Nevada in the Virginia, Flowery, Sweetwater, Pine Nut, and Wassuk Ranges.

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