A bobcat walks across a snow-covered branch at the edge of water
This bobcat was seen along the Madison River.

NPS/Neal Herbert

Black track of a bobcat
Bobcat track

Scientific Name

Lynx rufus

Number in Yellowstone

Unknown, but generally widespread.

Where to See

  • Rarely seen; most reports from rocky areas and near rivers.
  • Typical habitat: rocky areas, conifer forests.

Size and Behavior

  • Adult: 15–30 pounds; 31–34 inches long.
  • Color ranges from red-brown fur with indistinct markings to light buff with dark spotting; short tail; ear tufts.
  • Distinguish from lynx: has several black rings that do not fully circle the tail; no black tip on tail, shorter ear tufts, smaller track (2 inches).
  • Solitary, active between sunset and sunrise.
  • Eats rabbits, hares, voles, mice, red squirrels, wrens, sparrows, grouse; may take deer and adult pronghorn.
A wolf standing on a snowy bank near brown grass howls

Home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states.

Last updated: October 21, 2020

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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