Besides the iconic Florida panther, our other native wild cat is the bobcat, named for its short, or “bobbed” tail, and exists only in North America. While the bobcat may look like a domestic cat, it is definitely a wild animal. Generally living a solitary existence, it uses its eyesight and excellent hearing to hunt for its food.
Weighing between 13 and 35 pounds, the bobcat has white on the underside of its tail and black on top.
It also has white triangles on the back of its ears, likely so kittens can see their mothers in tall grass.
Bobcats grow to approximately 20” tall, and prey on a wide variety of animals including birds, rabbits, squirrels, and even carrion. It can swim and climb trees and lives for up to 14 years in the wild.
When born, baby bobcats are fully furred, but quite helpless. Although they start to venture out into the world at one month of age, they may stay with their mother for up to one year.
The Florida population is stable, even with development and roads. That said, it still needs wild places as habitat, and the Florida Wildlife Federation continues to advocate for the protection of these lands across the state.
Photo by Robyn Churchill.