• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park


    National Park ID,MT,WY

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Bobcats are small wildcats with reddish-brown or yellowish-brown coats.

Bobcats (Felix rufus) are small wild cats with reddish-brown or yellowish-brown coats, streaked with black or dark brown. They have prominent, pointed ears with a tuft of black hair at the tip. Females average 20 pounds and males weigh from 16 to 30 pounds. They breed in late winter or early spring and have a gestation period of about two months. A female may have one to six kittens each year.


In the early years of this century, bobcats were reported as "somewhat common" in the park. No research has been conducted in Yellowstone to determine the numbers or distribution of this elusive animal that usually is solitary, nocturnal, and widely scattered over its range.

Bobcat or Lynx?
A bobcat has black bars on the inside of the forelegs. Ear tufts are distinct, but short. No black tip on the tail, black markings do not completely circle the tail. Bobcat tracks seldom exceed 2 1/4 inches in length; lynx tracks are usually longer than 3 1/2 inches.

Quick facts about Bobcats in Yellowstone
  • Primarily active between dusk and dawn, solitary and wide-ranging
  • Prefer rock outcrops, canyons bordered by rock ledges, conifer forests, and semi-open areas in northern or warmer parts of the park.
  • Hunt small mammals such as mice, rabbits, hares, and pronghorn or deer.

Report a sighting of this species.

Did You Know?

Dog Hooked to Travois for Transporting Goods.

Some groups of Shoshone Indians, who adapted to a mountain existence, chose not to acquire the horse. These included the Sheep Eaters, or Tukudika, who used dogs to transport food, hides, and other provisions. The Sheep Eaters lived in many locations in Yellowstone.