Bobcat vs. Lynx

Bobcat vs. Lynx

Bobcat and lynx are types of medium-sized wild cats. There are 3 species of lynx that are native to Europe, Asia, northern parts of the USA and Canada, and one species of bobcat with 13 subspecies that can be found across North America (from Mexico to Canada). Lynx inhabits forested areas on high altitudes, while bobcat resides in swamps, deserts, scrublands, mountains and various types of forests. Both types of cats are on a target of hunters because of their beautiful fur. Excluding Iberian lynx, which is classified as endangered, other two species of lynx and bobcat are numerous in the wild. Bobcat and lynx are close relatives. They share many common features, and differ in only few aspects:

Size and Morphology of Body

Lynx is larger than bobcat. It can reach 31 to 51 inches in length and 18 to 66 pounds of weight. Lynx has large tufts of hair on the ears which ensure detection of even the slightest movement of the prey (they aid in hearing). Shaggy fur on the cheeks forms beard-like ruff around face. Lynx also has very long legs and large furry paws which facilitate movement across the snow. Bobcat can reach 28 to 39 inches in length and 16 to 31 pounds of weight. It looks like oversized domestic cat. Bobcat has shorter, black-colored ear tufts, shorter legs and smaller paws compared with lynx.


Bobcat has shorter, light grey or brown fur with prominent reddish-brown dots on the body and black bands on the legs. Lynx has very dense and long fur that is usually grey in color. Some types of lynx are covered with light brown, golden or beige-white fur. Lynx is covered with less spots than bobcat. Spots are grey-colored and usually concentrated on the limbs. Iberian lynx is exception from this rule. It has short fur covered with numerous black spots.


Both lynx and bobcat have short, roundish, stubby tail. Tail of bobcat is covered with black stripes and has bi-colored tip: black on the upper side and white below. Tail of lynx is slightly shorter and entirely black on the tip.


Lynx and bobcat are carnivores. Lynx is specialized for diet based on snowshoe hare, which represents 60 to 90% of its diet. Rabbits and reindeer are occasionally on the lynx's menu. Bobcat has more diverse diet. It hunts and eats mouse, cotton rats, eastern cottontail, fish, birds (chicken, geese, swan...) and occasionally large animals such as sheep, goat and deer.


Bobcat is more elusive and secretive than lynx and it is rarely seen in the wild. It is also more aggressive than lynx and has fierce hunting strategy.

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