Lynx in Texas? Pt. 2

(This is the final installment of a two-part series written by my cat research partner Terri Werner and I.

Chester Moore, Jr.

The first difference between a Canada lynx and a bobcat is size.

Bobcats can vary greatly in size as noted earlier in the story. A hunter for example who shoots a 20-pound bobcat might be shocked to see a 35-pound cat with long legs that looks as if it were a giant in comparison to the animal they took. Some bobcats tend to be very “leggy” while others are long and lean.

Ear tufts also vary greatly among individuals. Most bobcats have short but some are comparable to those of their northern cousins.

Spot patterns also vary wildly with some having virtually no spots on the top half and others possessing well-defined spots. A few individuals have a unique pattern traits of spots within spots that look sort of like the rosettes of a leopard or jaguar. It is not as pronounced as those big cats but it looks shockingly different from other bobcats. “Bob” one of the bobcats at Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge has this pattern and we received a photo of wild specimen in Texas while conducting our research.

Bobcat photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bobcat photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

People seeing this “different” looking bobcats sometimes associate them with Canada lynx and at some point a stocking legend began.

In a way that is a shame because, our very own lynx, the bobcat, is an amazing cat.

Here are some facts that will give you a new appreciation for this diminutive but astounding feline.

*A few years back the estimated bobcat population in Texas was around 200,000. That is probably a low number. These cats are all over the place and their range seems to be expanding.

*Our research has documented bobcats in the city limits of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Bobcats are able to live in small woodlots and will do just fine preying on the rodents around garbage dumps and drainage ditches.

*A study conducted in the Florida Everglades in 1992 showed that bobcats are fully capable of killing full grown whitetails although it fairly rare event. Bobcats killed six radio-collared adult deer in the region by administering one bite to the throat.

*According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, bobcats are able to jump up to 12 feet in a single bound.

The bobcat may not be as glamorous as its furrier, snowshoe-footed Canadian cousin may but they are perfectly suited for life in the Lone Star State where they fill an important niche in the environment.

 

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