Bobcat walking at night in Zion wilderness
A bobcat triggers a motion-activated camera in Zion's backcountry

NPS photo

Lynx rufus

About twice the size of an average house cat, the bobcat is a very adaptable predator who lives in a wide range of different environments throughout the continental United States. The name bobcat is short for "bob-tailed cat"—for its characteristic short, black-tipped tail. Bobcats are usually tawny, tan, or grayish in color, with darker spots and streaks on their body and legs, and light-colored undersides. They have short black tufts on their ears and a ruff of longer fur on their face.

Considered one of the most elusive animals in Zion, the bobcat is rarely seen due to its secretive nature. Like other cats, the bobcat is a stealthy, stalk-and-ambush predator, with great night vision. Its diet consists mostly of small mammals such as cottontails, jackrabbits, squirrels, and mice. However, bobcats have been known to eat much larger prey such as beaver, mule deer, and bighorn sheep—all animals which reside in Zion.

Even though seeing a bobcat in Zion National Park is rare, bobcats have been spotted occasionally on the higher plateau, and even within the main canyon of Zion.

Return to Mammals or to the main Wildlife page

Last updated: October 17, 2015

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Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.

Springdale, UT 84767


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