North America is home to four species of wildcats. With more and more of the natural habitat disappearing, wildcats, in addition to many other kinds of wildlife, are coming in closer contact with man. Find out More about the wildcats of North America.
He is also the only species of wild cat that’s not currently on the endangered list. The bobcat and the Canadian Lynx are occasionally though of as the same animal. They are both of the same household but different species. The bobcat is about twice the size of the average house cat. They get their name from the short, black-tipped tail that seems to be”bobbed” or cut off. The”tufts” of the ears are actually used like hearing aids and they have excellent vision. At once the bobcat’s territory was wide spread of the US, but their number have decreased over the years. Bobcats are nocturnal animals and are seldom seen by humans. The bobcats diet consists of mice, rabbits, squirrels, reptiles and fowl, including the farmer’s chickens. They are many times considered as a nuisance and are taken by farmers. Many hunters will also kill a bobcat as they consume the quail, pheasant and chukka that many hunters shoot for sport.
Lynx – The lynx is actually the bobcats”cold weather” cousin. The Asian and European lynx are bigger that the North American species, the Canada lynx. The Canada lynx are generally found, of course, in Canada and the colder parts of the US. The Canada lynx is about the same size as the bobcat, and it has tufted ears also. However, the lynx has more hair than the bobcat especially around the face and feet to keep them warmer in the colder climate. Their feet are used as”snow shoes” and are bigger and have more hair for added insulation from the cold and snow. The Canada lynx diet consists mainly on snowshoe hares. There is a correlation between the amount of snowshoe hares and the population of lynx. As the amount of snowshoe hares decline, so do the number of lynx. The larger Eurasian lynx will hunt deer in addition to smaller animals.
Ocelot – The ocelot is sometimes called the”Painted Leopard”. At one time they could be seen throughout the southwestern parts of the usa. However due to their attractively spotted fur, their numbers have been greatly reduced and has placed them on the endangered list. Occasionally you will see the ocelot in Arizona or portions of Texas. They are most commonly found in Mexico and northern parts of South America. They are primarily nocturnal and solitary creatures. The ocelot has brief tawny or reddish brown fur with black spots and rosette shaped markings. Their face has two black stripes down each side and their tail has black bands. They can be found in the trees, stalking monkeys and birds. They also eat small mammals and rodents, frogs, fish and a number of reptiles. Unlike most other cats, they don’t obey the water and can swim very well.
Mountain Lion – The mountain lion goes by many names. He’s also knows as puma, cougar, catamount, and panther. They are located mainly in the eastern and southern areas of the US, including the swamps of Florida. Mountain lions are beautiful animals with a tawny colored coat with no markings. They weight approximately 120-140 lbs. Mountain lions prefer to prey on deer but may also attack and eat coyotes and other mammals such as raccoons and porcupines. Their range was removed in the Midwest and Eastern US, although there are small populations returning the states like Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas. Mountain lions are known to attack humans. But, statistics show that on average there are only 4 strikes and 1 death annually in all the US and Canada. Mountain lions are more likely to attack someone who’s alone or a small child.
Few people will really come in contact with one of these wildcats in their natural habitat, but at least now you know a bit more about these great creatures.