5 fascinating facts about bobcats

February 17, 2016, 12 a.m.

1. Bobcats are sometimes nicknamed the red lynx due to their similar appearance to the Canadian lynx, but more rufus coloring.

2. Another species that bobcats are sometimes misidentified as are mountain lions. According to Urban Carnivores, "Many people are surprised to learn how small bobcats are, and perhaps this is why they are often thought to actually be mountain lion cubs when they are seen by some people. Many people expect them to weigh between 40 to 80 pounds and to be the size of a medium-sized dog, but in reality, they are much smaller." Bobcats actually only weigh an average of 21 pounds for males and 15 pounds for females. However, the largest bobcat on record did indeed weigh a whopping 49 pounds.

3. Though bobcats are twice the size of house cats, and aren't that large compared to many other cat species, don't let that size fool you. While they typically hunt rabbits, hares and rodents, they are capable of taking down prey much larger than themselves, including deer. They may be smaller than their cousins but they are very powerful animals.

4. As is the case with most cat species, bobcats are solitary animals. They come together only to mate, and females raise kittens on their own. Bobcats defend individual territories, and the size of the territory depends on the amount of food available.

5. Bobcats are able to adapt to a wide variety of habitat from forests to semi-arid deserts. They can also live in suburban areas, taking advantage of habitat on the fringes of cities, or even in people's backyards. Even when living among humans, they tend to be secretive and wary, and spotting a bobcat is a special treat.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.