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Bobcat picture and information, Bay Lynx (Lynx ruffus)

Bobcat picture and information, Bay Lynx (Lynx ruffus)The bay lynx, bobcat, or wildcat, as Lynx ruffus and its close relatives are variously called in different parts of the country, is one of the most widely distributed and best known of our wild animals. It is about two-thirds the size of the Canada lynx and characterized by much slenderer proportions, especially in its legs and feet.

The ears are less conspicuously tufted and the tip of the tail is black only on its upper half. Bobcats range from Nova Scotia and southern British Columbia over practically all of the wooded and brushy parts of the United States except along the northern border, and extend south to the southern end of the high table-land of Mexico.

From the earliest settlement of America the bobcat has figured largely in hunting literature, and the popular estimate of its character is well attested by the frontier idea of the superlative physical prowess of a man who can "whip his weight in wildcats." Although our wildcat usually weighs less than 20 pounds, if its reputed fierceness could be sustained it would be an awkward foe. But, so far as man is concerned, unless it is cornered and forced to defend itself, it is extremely timid and inoffensive.

Like all cats, it is very muscular and active, and to the rabbits, squirrels, mice, grouse, and other small game upon which it feeds is a persistent and remorseless enemy. Although an expert tree-climber, it spends most of its time on the ground, where it ordinarily seeks its prey. It is most numerous in districts where birds and small mammals abound, and parts of California seem especially favorable for it.

Ordinarily the bobcat seems to be rather uncommon, but its nocturnal habits usually prevent its real numbers being actually known. In districts where not much hunted it is not uncommonly seen abroad by day, especially in winter, when driven by hunger. The bay lynx makes its den in hollows in trees, in small caves, and in openings among rock piles wherever quiet and safety appear assured. Although a shy animal, it persists in settled regions if sufficient woodland or broken cottntrv remains to give it shelter. From such retreats it sallies forth at night, and not only do the chicken roosts of careless householders suffer, but toll is even taken among the lambs of sheep herds.

As in the case of most small cats, the stealthy hunting habits of the bay lynx renders it excessively destructive to ground- frequenting birds, especially to quail, grouse, and other game birds. For this reason, like many of its kind, it is outlawed in all settled parts of the country.