Florida bobcat

(Lynx rufus floridanus)


This is a medium sized cat with a total length of 24-40 inches and a weight of 40-25 pounds. They have a very short tail, relatively long legs, and rather long, loose fur with longer cheek fur forming sideburns. The upper parts are reddish-brown spotted or streaked with black, and white below, spotted or streaked with black. The breeding season is from early January to March, and they are probably monogamous. A litter of 1-5 kittens is born in a den in April or May. This is a good climber, but prefers the ground and is also a good swimmer, but only if forced. It has a swift, distinctive bounding gait. It is very secretive and sticks to cover. It is seldom found in the open except at night, for it is a nocturnal species. It has a range from 5-50 miles in diameter. The life span in the wild is 6-8 years.


In Virginia they are found mainly in the southeastern corner. They are found in rough topography, in all habitat types. There is little avoidance of any habitat of any habitat type except highly developed areas and those with dense human populations. Clearings and old fields are important for hunting areas.


This species is the primary predator of small game. The cottontail rabbit is the top preferred food. They also feed heavily on large rodents such as the hispid cotton rat. They occasionally kill white-tail deer.