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bobcat (Lynx rufus) Photo © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors


The adult bobcat has a head-body length of 25 to 35 inches. Its tail is about five inches long. It weighs 15 to 30 pounds. Its sides and back are a mix of gray, brown and tan with dark streaks and spots. The belly is white or tan with black spots. The tail has a black tip. Its short, pointed ears have tufts of black hair on the tip.


The bobcat may be found statewide in Illinois. It lives in wooded bluffs, rolling hills with open fields, brushy ravines or bottomland forests. The bobcat is a carnivore that eats cottontails, squirrels, mice and birds. It may eat carrion if other food is not available. It has very acute eyesight and hearing. The bobcat is a good climber. It is mostly nocturnal and solitary. It can hiss, growl, snarl or scream. Mating occurs February through April. Young are born after a gestation period of about two months. Litter size is one or two. Young are able to live on their own at about two months of age.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

Illinois Status: common, native