Bobcat Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Bobcats are smaller wildcats with short tails that live in North America. This lesson will teach you about the special adaptations that help them survive in their natural habitats.

What are Bobcats?

Imagine that you're hiking in the desert with your friends. The ground is rocky and there is dry, scrubby brush everywhere. You don't notice the two golden eyes hiding in the bushes, watching your every move. As you move, the creature follows, but they're silent while your footsteps crunch across the ground. You're being followed by a bobcat!

Bobcats are North American wildcats with very short tails. They may weigh as much as 30 pounds, which is about the same as an English cocker spaniel. Their short tails are usually between 2 and 8 inches long. That 'bobbed' tail is how they got their name!

Bobcats live in parts of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. They like to hang out in different kinds of habitats like deserts, mountains, forests, farms, and swamps. They even sometimes live in suburban areas near people.

Bobcats have some cool adaptations which are special characteristics that help them survive in these different kinds of North American habitats. These adaptations also help them live in places where there may not be a lot of food or shelter.

Bobcat Fur

If you lived in the wild, you would want to blend in with your surroundings so you could hunt for food and hide from predators who want to make you their next snack. A bobcat's camouflaged fur makes it hard for prey and enemies to see it. The fur even changes color depending on the season.

Bobcat with summer fur coat
Bobcat with summer fur coat

In warmer months, a bobcat's fur is a golden-brown color with black stripes and spots. During the winter, its fur becomes more grayish to match the color of the dead plants around it. Bobcats hide so well, you may never see them even when they're around!

Bobcat Ears

Bobcats are carnivores, which means they eat meat. Before bobcats can eat their dinner, they have to find it first, which is why their ears are so important. They have great hearing and ears that twist around in different directions to catch any little sound that their prey might make.

They also have spiky fringes of fur that stick up from their pointy ears. Scientists think this also helps their ears catch the sounds around them, the way you can hear really well if you pull your ears forward.

Bobcat with spiky fur on its ears
Bobcat with spiky fur on its ears

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