Bobcats are interesting Catskill residents

Bobcats are about twice the size of a domestic cat and usually smaller than the Canada lynx. Their fur is dense, short, and soft and is generally shorter and more reddish in the summer and longer and more gray in the winter. Spotting occurs in some bobcats and is faded in others. The face has notable long hairs along the cheeks and black tufts at the tops of each ear.

Males are, on average, one-third larger than females. Both sexes can be greater than 30 pounds; however, averages for males and females are 21 and 14 pounds, respectively. Body length for males is 34 inches and 30 inches for females. Tail length is usually between five and six inches for both sexes.

Deer and rabbits are prey
Research in the late 1970s found that white-tailed deer, rabbit, and hare are the most common items in the diet of bobcats in New York. They eat deer more often during the winter than other times of the year and will store or cache carcasses for future use. Deer can be a valuable prey item in areas of deep snow because one carcass can last for several weeks. Opportunistic prey items include birds, squirrels, meadow voles, and road kill.

Bobcats are solitary animals and may be active at any time, day or night. Males have larger home ranges than females, and they travel greater distances on a daily basis. In the Catskills, the average male home range is 14 square miles, while the female average is 12 square miles.

Use hunting strategy
Bobcat will use multiple strategies while hunting. They may approach stealthily, using any form of cover available between them and their prey, attempting to get close enough to pounce and strike. They may also use an ambush technique where they will sit and wait for prey to pass by, thereby affording them the opportunity to strike undetected.

The most critical features of bobcat habitat are places for refuge and protection, such as ledges. Bobcats often use rocky ledges and rock piles for shelter, breeding, and raising young. Brush piles, hollow trees, and logs are other good structures for resting and dens. Evergreen bogs and swamps, and other secluded places also fill the bobcat’s requirement for refuge and protection.
Bobcats usually are not present where there are continuous human population centers; however, they can use patches of habitat if the patches are not completely isolated by urban development.