Lynx vs. Bobcat: Difference between Bobcat vs. Lynx (with Useful Description)

Last Updated on December 12, 2023

In the animal world, there’s a lot of species that look almost completely alike, yet for some reason, they go by completely different names. It’s even more confusing than when animals that look very different go by the same name. A good example of the former is the lynx vs. bobcat. Both are approximately the same size, have a short tail and long ears. Is there any difference between them, apart from the name?

Lynx vs. Bobcat: the Overview

Lynx vs. BobcatPin

Lynx and Bobcat: the Overview

What Are Lynxes?

Lynxes are medium-sized wild cats. They have a thick fur coat that provides excellent insulation during the cold winters in their habitats.

  • Geographical Range: Lynxes have a broader natural habitat that spans across Canada, Alaska, and parts of the Northern United States.
  • Physique:
    • Height at Shoulder: Approximately 24 inches
    • Weight: 18 – 64 pounds
  • Physical Traits:
    • Feet: Large, padded feet for traversing snow
    • Legs: Notably longer than those of a bobcat
    • Ears: Tipped with prominent tufts of black hair

What Are Bobcats?

Bobcats are small to medium-sized wild cats native to North America. They are known for their distinctive tufted ears, short tails, and spotted coats.

  • Geographical Range: Bobcats are typically found throughout North America, from southern Canada to central Mexico.
  • Physique:
    • Height at Shoulder: 18 – 23 inches
    • Weight: 11 – 37 pounds
  • Physical Traits:
    • Feet: Smaller than those of lynxes
    • Legs: Shorter in comparison
    • Ears: They have tufts of hair as well, but less pronounced than those of a lynx

The Main Differences

Thankfully, there is some logic to this matter. Sure, the bobcat and lynx are two different species but they belong to the same genus, the Lynx genus. It contains four species in total: the Spanish lynx, the Canadian lynx, the Eurasian lynx, and the bobcat. The names of the species are self-explanatory regarding the parts of the world where they live, i.e. the Spanish lynx lives in Portugal and in Spain, while the Canadian lynx can be found in Canada and in some northern states of America. The bobcat occupies the continent of North America.

The lynx usually lives in forests because that’s where it can find the snowshoe hare, its main source of food. In contrast, bobcats can enjoy a larger variety of places to live in. They can feel perfectly normal in mountains, forests, deserts, as well as swampy areas. So, the only place where you can find both lynxes and bobcats is the border between America and Canada.

The two species are a bit different in appearance as well. For instance, you could say that a bobcat looks a lot like a way too big house cat; certainly, more than a lynx does. A lynx has longer ears, longer legs, and larger feet. These attributes help the animal hunt; a lynx has excellent hearing and is able to move almost without making any sound when chasing after hares during the winter.

One more difference between a lynx and a bobcat has to do with their diet. As it was already mentioned, lynxes mostly eat hares, but also rabbits and sometimes even reindeer who are four times larger than them. Bobcats, on the other hand, aren’t as picky. They can also eat birds and mice, sometimes feasting on a large animal like a deer, as well. In fact, bobcats wouldn’t be able to chase snowshoe hares as successfully as lynxes because their smaller paws wouldn’t allow them to move so quickly and quietly in the snow.

Even though both species have short, bobbed tails, the tail of a bobcat has black stripes and is white at the bottom of the tip and black at the top. In contrast, the tip of a lynx’s tail is all black.

Finally, the behavior of a bobcat differs a lot from the behavior of a lynx. Bobcats are known as the spitfires of the Animal Kingdom because of their bold attitude and fierce hunting habits. Lynxes, though exceptional hunters too, usually are calmer.

Lynx vs. Bobcat Examples

Lynx Examples 

  • The lynx prowled silently through the snowy forest, searching for prey.
  • Biologists set up cameras to capture footage of the elusive lynx in its natural habitat.
  • The lynx is easily identified by its tufted ears and short tail.
  • Conservation efforts have been put in place to protect the lynx population from decline.
  • The lynx‘s keen eyesight helps it to spot small rodents from a distance.
  • In the wildlife reserve, the lynx can be seen resting in the shade during the day.
  • The footprints in the mud suggested that a lynx had passed through the area recently.

Bobcat Examples 

  • The bobcat is a nocturnal predator, often hunting for rabbits and rodents at night.
  • Despite its small size, the bobcat is a fierce and agile hunter.
  • bobcat was spotted on the trail camera, confirming its presence in the area.
  • The bobcat climbed the tree with ease, thanks to its powerful limbs.
  • Farmers sometimes encounter the bobcat near their livestock, as it searches for food.
  • The bobcat‘s distinctive spotted coat provides excellent camouflage in the brush.
  • In the wild, a bobcat can live up to 12 years, although many don’t survive that long due to environmental factors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you distinguish a lynx from a bobcat?

To tell lynxes and bobcats apart, look for the lynx’s longer legs, larger paws, and tufted ears. In contrast, bobcats are generally smaller with shorter legs and ears without pronounced tufts.

What habitats are typical for lynxes and bobcats?

Lynxes are often found in colder, more northerly climates such as in Canada and northern parts of the United States and prefer forests and mountainous areas. Bobcats are more widespread in North America, adapting to environments that range from forests and swamps to arid regions.

What are the size comparisons between a lynx and a bobcat?

On average, lynxes are larger than bobcats. A lynx’s weight ranges from 18 to 64 pounds and stands about 24 inches at the shoulder. A bobcat typically weighs between 11 and 37 pounds, with a shoulder height of 18 to 23 inches.

Could a bobcat and a lynx interbreed, and if so, what are the implications?

While bobcats and lynxes are closely related, interbreeding is rare and not commonly documented. If it were to occur, it could potentially result in hybrid offspring, raising concerns about genetic purity and conservation.

Are there any risks of lynxes being aggressive towards humans?

Lynxes are generally not aggressive towards humans. These wildcats are elusive and tend to avoid human encounters. However, like any wild animal, they can be unpredictable, especially if cornered or if a human approaches their young.

How does the behavior and diet of a lynx differ from that of a bobcat?

Lynxes and bobcats share similar behaviors and diets as carnivorous predators. However, lynxes are known to pursue larger prey due to their size, like deer, whereas bobcats have a more varied diet including smaller mammals like rabbits and rodents. The habitats they live in often influence their preferred prey.

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