Wildlife Viewing

Bobcat

The bobcat is the smallest wild felid in Oregon, with females being considerably smaller than males. The bobcat is about twice the size of a domestic cat, but its legs are longer, its tail is shorter, and its body is more muscular and compact. The feet are relatively small and the bobcat is not well adapted to negotiate deep snow.

In general, the variously spotted pelage is yellowish with grayish overtones in winter and with reddish overtones in summer, reflecting the two annual molts. The ears are black with a large white spot and are equipped with short black tufts. The tail is black-tipped and there may be several blackish bars proximate to the tip. The venter is white with dark spots and the legs and feet are whitish with dark spots or bars. The sides of the face are extended by a ruff of fur. Bobcats in western Oregon possess more distinct markings than those in eastern Oregon.

Bobcats are active for periods of four to eight hours and then inactive for one to eight hours. Bouts of activity seem more related to temperatures than intervals of light and darkness. In winter, bobcats tend to avoid activity during periods of low temperatures, but in summer, activity seems to be initiated as temperatures commence to fall. Bobcats spend periods of inactivity at den sites in natural cavities, hollow logs, or protected areas under logs.

The bobcat occurs statewide in Oregon. It inhabits all habitats except intensively cultivated lands and areas at high altitudes.

Photo from ODFW