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North Dakota Game Species
Fact Sheet
Scientific Name Lynx rufus
Description Bobcats are about twice the size of a domestic cat with relatively long legs, short, bobbed tail, pointed ears and a facial ruff. Bobcats have soft, medium-length fur that ranges from reddish to gray, with a highly variable amount of black spotting. Their bellies are typically white with black spots.
Tracks Track Front/Rear– 2" L,1-3/4" W Walking stride: 6" - 14"
Total Length 29-46 inches
Weight 15-38 pounds
Habitat Bobcats are primarily found in the badlands region, but also regularly occur along streams and rivers in southwestern North Dakota. They prefer rugged or wooded habitats that afford them the ability to stalk prey.
Breeding Season February-March
Gestation Period 60 days
Litter Size 2-4 (average 3)
Social Aspects Solitary, except when breeding or rearing young.
Status The bobcat population in southwestern North Dakota is stable and there is a limited season south and west of the Missouri River. Additionally, there is a small but increasing population of bobcats in extreme northeastern North Dakota.
Food Habits Bobcats are strictly carnivorous, with rabbits their primary prey. The rest of their diet is made up of other small rodents such as squirrels, mice and voles. However, bobcats are opportunistic, so they will take advantage of other prey such as birds and deer (mostly fawns or carrion).
Fun Facts Bobcats are members of the lynx genus and are often confused with the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). Bobcats are differentiated from Canada lynx by their shorter ear tufts, less distinct facial ruff , smaller feet, and tail tip that only has black on top (tail tip of the Canada lynx is black on top and bottom). However, bobcats and Canada lynx have been known to hybridize in the wild.