Bobcat Habitat Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

Bobcats are wild cats that live in many different places throughout North America. In which types of habitats can they be found? Read on to learn more.

A Wild Cat in the Woods

Picture this: you're out for a hike with your family when suddenly a cat runs past. A cat in the woods? This is no ordinary house cat. It's twice as big, and looks a bit like a leopard cub. This cat is wild, and you soon realize that it's a bobcat.

A bobcat near a river

If you have never actually seen a bobcat, you are certainly not alone. However, this isn't necessarily because none live near you. If you live in North America, you may be closer to these cats than you think. From the southern part of Canada all the way to Mexico, bobcats inhabit much of North America. Where might you see one? Join us as we explore the habitat of the bobcat.

What Is a Bobcat?

First, let's take a quick look at characteristics of this wild cat. A bobcat is a small member of the big cat family, and is actually a species of lynx. Weighing in between around 11 and 30 pounds, a bobcat is about the size of a medium dog. It often has tufted ears, its body is spotted, and it has a short ''bobbed'' tail. In the U.S., bobcats are the most abundant of the wild cats.

Bobcat Habitat

Where can you find bobcats? As we mentioned earlier, bobcats live in North America. They can be found in 48 states, as well as much of Canada and Mexico. Extremely adaptable animals, bobcats are found in a wide variety of environments. They live in the mountains, forests, deserts, grasslands, swamps, and farms. People occasionally even find them in their backyards!

Although these are not picky cats, they do have specific needs when it comes to habitat. First, there must be plenty of food around. Bobcats are fierce hunters and carnivores, meaning they kill and eat other animals. Though they especially love eating rabbits, they will also dine on fish, reptiles, birds, squirrels, gophers and other small mammals. Where there is lots to eat, bobcats will thrive.

This bobcat blends in well with its forested habitat

Bobcats also need habitats with good hiding places, and cozy nooks in which to build their dens. Wooded areas with trees provide cover, and so do thick grassy areas. Dens can be built in places like caves, hollow trees, and rocky crevices. This means that bobcats can really make their home just about anywhere.

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