Appearance: Bobcats are named for their short black-tipped tails. They have tufted ears, long legs, and large paws. Their short, thick top fur coat can range from light brown to red and their under coat is white with dark black spots. They have ruffs of hair on the sides of their head, which appear to look like sideburns.
Range: Resourceful and versatile, bobcats are capable of adapting to a variety of habitats including forests, swamps, and deserts. Once found throughout the United States, today the bobcat’s range is limited. Aside from humans (vehicles and habitat loss due to urbanization), natural bobcat predators include wolves and cougars.
Diet: Bobcats are solitary hunters that prey mostly on small mammals like rabbits, rodents, and sometimes birds, reptiles, or young deer. Bobcats have a well-developed sense of smell and excellent night vision. They use their sharp, retractable claws to climb trees and ambush their prey.
Missy the bobcat was born in April 2001 at Zoo Boise in Idaho and has lived at the WNC Nature Center all her life. Since Missy was born and raised in a zoo, she does not fear humans and didn’t learn the necessary survival skills to live in the wild.
Missy is one of the oldest mammals at the Nature Center, but that doesn’t stop her from hunting and exercising! Bobcats can live to be 12 years old in the wild and up to 32 years in zoos. You can frequently find Missy sleeping in her hammock or climbing on her exhibit structures.