The Bobcat, Lynx, Ocelot and the Puma or Cougar are considered native to North America. With more and more of the natural habitat disappearing, wildcats, as well as many other kinds of wildlife, are coming in closer contact with man. Find out More about the wildcats of North America.
Bobcat – The bobcat is the most commonly known wild cat in North America. He’s also the only species of wild cat that is not currently on the endangered list. The bobcat and the Canadian Lynx are occasionally though of as the same animal. They’re both of the same household but different species. The bobcat is about double the size of the average house cat. They have long legs, large paws and tufted ears. They get their name from the brief, black-tipped tail which seems to be”bobbed” or cut off. The”tufts” of their ears are actually used like hearing aids and they have excellent vision. At once the bobcat’s territory was wide spread of the US, but their number have diminished through the years. Bobcats are nocturnal animals and are rarely seen by humans. The bobcats diet consists of rabbits, mice, squirrels, reptiles and fowl, including the farmer’s chickens. They are many times considered as a nuisance and are taken by farmers. Many hunters will also kill a bobcat since they eat the quail, pheasant and chukka that many hunters shoot for sport.
Lynx – The lynx is truly the bobcats”cold weather” cousin. They are actually several species of lynx. The Asian and European lynx are bigger that the North American species, the Canada lynx. The Canada lynx are generally found, of course, in Canada and the colder parts of the US. The Canada lynx is about the exact same size as the bobcat, and it has tufted ears also. Their feet are used as”snow shoes” and are larger and have more hair for extra insulation from the cold and snow. The Canada lynx diet consists mainly on snowshoe hares. There is a correlation between the number of snowshoe hares and the population of lynx. As the number of snowshoe hares decrease, so do the number of lynx. The larger Eurasian lynx will hunt deer in addition to smaller animals.
Ocelot – The ocelot is sometimes called the”Painted Leopard”. At one time they could be found throughout the southwestern parts of the usa. However due to their beautifully spotted fur, their numbers have been greatly reduced and has put them on the endangered list. Occasionally you will see the ocelot in Arizona or portions of Texas. They are most frequently seen in Mexico and northern parts of South America. They are primarily nocturnal and solitary animals. The ocelot has brief tawny or reddish brown fur with black spots and rosette shaped markings. Their face has two black stripes down each side along with their tail has black bands. They can be seen in the trees, stalking monkeys and birds. They also eat small mammals and rodents, frogs, fish and a number of reptiles. Unlike most other cats, they don’t obey the water and can swim very well.
Mountain Lion – The mountain lion goes by several names. He’s also knows as puma, cougar, catamount, and panther. They are found mainly in the eastern and southern areas of the US, such as the swamps of Florida. They weight approximately 120-140 lbs. Mountain lions prefer to prey on deer but may also attack and consume coyotes and other mammals such as raccoons and porcupines. Their range has been removed in the Midwest and Eastern US, though there are small populations returning the states such as Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas. Mountain lions have been known to attack humans. But, statistics show that on average there are 4 attacks and 1 death each year in all of the US and Canada. Mountain lions will be more likely to attack a person who’s alone or a little child.
Few people will really come in contact with any of these wildcats in their natural habitat, but at least now you know a bit more about these wonderful creatures.