Incredibly cute, noisy, fierce, and elusive, bobcats are an interesting cat species that cover a large range that extends throughout Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Skilled hunters, bobcats can easily adapt to a wide range of different terrains and are more than happy to hunt a wide range of creatures.
However, due to the large range the bobcat covers, the food they eat varies from habitat to habitat, with each climate affecting the food source bobcats have on offer.
With so many different food sources to choose from, understanding what the bobcat eats and where it eats it can be a little tricky. Luckily for you, that’s where we come into things.
To improve your knowledge of the bobcat, we’ve decided to put together this post. In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about the bobcat in relation to what it eats.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What Do Bobcats Eat In The Desert?
Bobcats live in a wide range of different climates and environments. One of the most extreme has to be the deserts they call home.
Deserts are extreme environments where food and drink sources are scarce. While most species of animal would struggle to comfortably survive in the desert, the bobcat thrives.
Thanks to its excellent hunting skills and its ability to adapt to its surroundings, the bobcat successively hunts, kills, and eats plenty of other animals in the desert.
The common animals the bobcat will eat in the desert are rabbits, lizards, birds, snakes, rodents, and carrion. Some have even been found to eat raccoons.
What Do Bobcats Eat In Snowy Regions?
Another harsh environment the bobcat lives in is snowy regions. Like deserts, a lot of animals find the conditions far too extreme to comfortably survive. Once again, the bobcat is an exception.
Living in snowy regions across Canada and North America, the bobcat thrives by hunting a variety of different creatures.
The most popular of these in snowy regions are Cricetid rodents and red squirrels. They’ll also eat small birds if they can get their paws on them. The occasional deer is also on the menu.
For those that don’t know, Cricetid rodents include species of hamsters, mice, voles, and rats.
In total, 608 species make up this group of rodents. Bobcats would snack on most of the 608 if they got the chance.
What Do Bobcats Eat In Mountain Ranges?
Compared to the other two habitats we’ve already looked at, mountain ranges present bobcats with a wider range of food options.
Even better, most of the food sources on offer are a lot bigger and more fulfilling.
Some of the most common foods bobcats will eat across a mountain range include snowshoe hares, mountain beavers, black-tailed deer, rodents, moles, and birds.
As you can see, the bobcat is much more spoiled for choice in this type of habitat.
Top 10 Foods Bobcats Eat?
Now we know more about what bobcats eat in different regions and environments, let’s take a quick look at the top 10 foods bobcats like to eat.
These foods aren’t always available to the bobcat, but they’re up there with the most popular foods the species hunts for.
- Snowshoe Hares
- White or Black-Tail Deer
- Cotton rats
How Do They Hunt For Their Prey?
Like most felines, the bobcat is most active at dawn and dusk.
When the light levels drop, bobcats leave their dens and start to stalk their prey.
A normal routine for a bobcat involves waking up just before sunset, heading out to hunt, before then going back to sleep.
They will then wake up again just before dawn and head out to hunt some more.
Bobcats prefer to ambush their prey. Therefore, they use stealth techniques to hunt.
Thanks to their super sharp sight and hearing, the bobcat can cross through their territory waiting for the slightest movement or noise.
When the bobcat hears a noise or spots potential prey, it will freeze. It will stay frozen until the prey reappears.
When the time is right, the bobcat will then pounce on its prey, pinning it down with its paws and biting its neck with its sharp canines.
Are They Good Hunters?
For their size, bobcats are extremely good hunters. They are so good that they have no trouble hunting and killing much larger animals than themselves.
Occasionally, when they catch deer, they will leap from a tree onto a deer’s back, attacking it at the throat.
Their speed, impressive eyesight, sharp hearing, camouflage coat, patience, and overall power help to make them the hunters they are.
How Often Does A Bobcat Eat?
Bobcats usually eat approximately two pounds of food a day. They prefer to eat their meat fresh. As a result, bobcats will hunt every day.
While this amount of meat might not seem like that much, when you consider how small some of the bobcat’s prey can be, things seem a lot harder.
The bobcat has to be good at hunting if they want to feed successively without burning too much energy in the process.
For that reason, they would much prefer to stalk prey slowly for several miles than have to sprint at full speed.
Do Bobcats Eat Humans?
You’ll be pleased to hear that no human has ever been killed or eaten by a bobcat. Bobcat attacks on humans are very rare.
Even then, attacks are mostly down to accidental contact. Bobcats very rarely, if ever attack a human with food in mind.
Attacks normally occur when the bobcat has been startled or feels threatened.
Unbelievably, while there have never been any reported deaths from bobcats, thousands of people die every year from domestic cat and dog attacks.
Can A Bobcat Take Down A Deer?
As we mentioned above, yes, bobcats can take down a deer. In fact, bobcats have even been known to take down fully grown deer despite the size difference.
While bobcats will happily hunt down a deer when food sources are scarce, deer isn’t the first food choice for a bobcat. They would much prefer to hunt for smaller mammals first.
Do Bobcats Eat Coyotes?
It is widely believed that bobcats don’t eat coyotes. It may even be the other way round.
Studies have shown that no bobcats have ever been seen to hunt or prey on coyotes. They haven’t even been seen scavenging coyotes. Although, bobcats don’t typically scavenge.
Research has actually shown the opposite. In some cases, coyotes have been seen preying on bobcats.
This doesn’t happen very often but if the coyote is desperate it won’t think twice about grabbing a bobcat.
Do Bobcats Eat Dogs?
Bobcats aren’t fussy when it comes to eating. Therefore, while it may be unlikely, it is totally possible that a bobcat could hunt, kill, and eat a dog left unattended.
The dog would probably have to weigh less than 30 lbs for the bobcat to take down, and of course, the bobcat would have to enter an urban area.
This has happened in the past and will happen again, but the chances of it happening to your dog are pretty slim.
Will A Bobcat Eat A Racoon?
If given a chance, a bobcat will hunt down and eat a raccoon. Raccoons are actually one of the top 10 foods bobcats eat.
Raccoons tend to be one of the most common foods a bobcat eats in the desert. Again, bobcats aren’t fussy. They’ll eat whatever meat they can, whenever they get the chance.
Do Bobcats Eat House Cats?
Just like with dogs, there’s a slim chance but a possibility that a bobcat will eat a pet cat if left unattended.
This is another rarity, but it has happened in the past and it probably will happen again. The best way to keep your pets safe is to stay with them whenever they go outside.
Do Bobcats Eat Rattlesnakes?
Despite not being immune to the venom of a rattlesnake, bobcats have been known to hunt and eat them. This is a risky move for the bobcat but one that pays off if they’re successful.
Amazingly, camera trap footage caught a bobcat killing a rattlesnake. From the footage, it was discovered that the bobcats have perfected a slapping technique that kills the snake.
Will A Bobcat Eat A Pet?
We already know that a bobcat could eat your pet dog or cat if it got the chance, but what about other pets?
Well, while the chances may still be slim, there’s a chance that pet rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds that are kept outside could also be eaten by a bobcat.
As far as food is concerned, bobcats aren’t fussy. Whether it be a small rodent or an adult-sized deer, a bobcat will happily eat whatever meat it can get.
While they prefer their meat fresh, they have even been known to eat carrion when necessary.
Generally speaking though, the most popular foods a bobcat hunts for are snowshoe hares, rabbits, mice, deer, beavers, birds, reptiles, and many more.
Now you’ve been through this post, you should know everything there is to know about this formidable predator.
If you want to learn more about the bobcat, make sure you check out one of our other posts about this incredible species of cat.