Native Ohio Wildlife: The Bobcat
(Reprinted from above link)
Time to put your learning hats on and explore more about the wonderful animals that call the great state of Ohio home! While we have covered many animals of Ohio, the list continues that we must cover. For this week’s animal, we look at one that was once a mascot of one of our former country high schools that is of the feline kind. As I am sure, you have already guessed that we are talking about the bobcat as this week’s feature animal! Let’s learn more about this unique feline seeing where it lives, what it eats, and some of its behaviors.
Let us first talk about what the bobcat looks like. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the bobcat has a rather dense, short haired fur that has hints of gray, yellow-brown, and reddish brown. It is on the upper portions of the body where the reddish brown will be seen on this animal. The ears of the bobcat are two different colors with the top of the ear tips appearing black while the backside will be black with some white spots. The average lifespan for the bobcat is anywhere from ten to twelve years with an average weight ranging from 10 to 30 pounds.
The bobcat is a nocturnal animal meaning that they are active during the nighttime hours and inactive during the daylight hours. In addition, they are very good at hiding making it very difficult for them to be spotted. National Geographic notes the bobcat as a vicious hunter that can take on prey that are larger than they are relying on slyness and the ever-famous pounce typical of felines. Common prey of the bobcat are various birds, mice, squirrels, and rabbits. This animal finds itself as a member of the Felidae (Feline) family, the same as your housecat.
ODNR writes that the bobcat is one of seven wild cat species found throughout North America and much of Ohio although they found themselves in low populations around 1850 coming back by 1900. According to National Geographic, it is estimated that there are around one million bobcats living in the United States. This animal is very possessive over their territory and does not prefer to roam around too much. ODNR writes that the males are more accommodating to others being in their territory than the females.
The breeding season for the bobcat primarily takes places from December through May with a gestation of around 63 days, according to ODNR. Young bobcats are born with their eyes shut with the eyes opening around five days after birth. The average litter size for bobcats is around one to six kittens with two or more being standard along with one litter born per year, according to ODNR. The young venture out on their own rather early in life going out at around eight weeks, once they are weaned, to live on their own.
Have you seen a bobcat before? If so, we would love to see your photos and hear your stories! Now we have covered yet another native Ohio animal, we still have more to learn about so be sure to stay tuned to our continuing Native Ohio Wildlife Series.