Difference Between Lynx and Bobcat (With Table)

It is hard to tell the difference between a lynx and a bobcat if one is seeing these species for the first time. Since bobcats are a type of lynx, they share some common features but have their differences as well. For example, both the animals are aggressive and their species overlap in the Canadian region but at the same time, they choose different types of ecosystems for living. 

Lynx vs Bobcat

The difference between lynx and bobcat is that there are four types of lynx and bobcat is one of them. So, all the bobcats come under the species of lynx but not the other way around. Most types of lynx are larger but the size of a bobcat is comparatively smaller. Lynx are spotted on several continents but a bobcat is most common in the US, Mexico, and Southern Canada. 

Lynx belongs to the wild cad genus and there are four different species of the animal. They are most commonly found in the forests of Asia, Europe, and North America where heavy annual snowfall takes place. They have large paws with hairy soles which helps them to walk in the snow. Lynx can be recognized from their black tail tip and ear tufts. 

Bobcat is also known as bay lynx is a species of lynx whose size is comparatively smaller than other lynx species. They are mostly found in Southern Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Unlike other lynx species, bobcat inhabits a variety of ecosystems ranging from mountains to deserts. Bobcats have dark-colored streaks and spots on their coat. In some places of the US, they were hunted down during the early 20th century. 

Comparison Table Between Lynx and Bobcat

Parameters of ComparisonLynxBobcat
OrderLynx are of four different species. They are Canadian, Eurasian, Spanish, and Bobcat.All bobcats are lynx but all lynx are not bobcats. 
GeographyOn can spot various types of Lynx in Canada, Spain, Europe, and even in Asia. Bobcats are spotted in the United States, Mexico, and Southern Canada. 
BodyLynx have log legs, splayed toes, and padded soles that help them to walk in the snow. Bobcats have relatively shorter legs and smaller paws. They don’t have fur underneath their paws. 
Habitat Lynx are mostly found in very cold environments that receive heavy snowfall. Bobcats inhabits a range of ecosystems including mountains, swamps, and desert. 
SizeLynx are comparatively larger than bobcats. Bobcats are smaller as compared to other species of lynx. 
Color and PatternsFound in a variety of shades of gray, yellow, brown, and tan. Most bobcats have brown-colored fur with black spots. 
TailThe tail of the tip is entirely black. The tip is black but underneath it’s white. 

What is Lynx?

 Lynx are medium-sized wild cats that are found across various continents. From the various species of lynx, bobcats are famous in North America, the Eurasian lynx is famous in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and the Iberian lynx is common in Spain. Lynx have a tuft of hair on the tip of their ears and it is there one of the most recognizable features. 

The fur color of lynx varies from different species as well as with season. The various shades of colors are tan, yellow, dark gray, etc. They have white or slightly cream-colored fur on their stomach and chest. Lynx have thick fur all over their body including their feet so that they can survive in extremely cold conditions. Their large paws act as snowshoes during heavy snowfall.

Lynx prey on a wide variety of animals and some of them are turkeys, squirrels, voles, sheep, and goats. For a long time, this animal was hunted by humans for their thick fur and that is why their population in North America has reduced drastically. Lynx interact with each other only during the breeding season and the kittens stay with the female parent until a year old.

What is Bobcat?

Bobcats fall under the category of lynx that are famous around the North American region. One can spot them in Southern Canada, Mexico, and the US. The reason why this species is called bobcat is because of their tail which is bobbed and short. One of the most identifiable features of bobcats is their back tip of the tail but white underneath. 

Bobcats live in a variety of habitats starting from mountains to deserts. But, those that live in the forests have fewer dark spots on their body as compared to the desert bobcats. Bobcats are the smallest species of lynx and their size increases as one moves further north. Sometimes bobcats are also spotted in areas inhabited by humans. 

Like other lynx, bobcats are also exclusively carnivorous. Some of the animals that they commonly prey on are birds, mice, hares, lizards, fish, etc. Sometimes they also prey on domestic dogs and are a big threat to endangered whooping cranes. A bobcat takes around two years to become ready for breeding. 

Main Differences Between Lynx and Bobcat

  1. Bobcat is a species of lynx hence all bobcats are lynx but not vice versa.
  2. On can spot various types of Lynx in Canada, Spain, Europe, and even in Asia whereas bobcats are spotted in the United States, Mexico, and Southern Canada. 
  3. Lynx have log legs, splayed toes, and padded soles that help them to walk in the snow whereas Bobcats have relatively shorter legs and smaller paws without fur underneath. 
  4. Lynx are mostly found in very cold environments that receive heavy snowfall whereas bobcats inhabit a range of ecosystems including mountains, swamps, and deserts. 
  5. Lynx are comparatively larger than bobcats. 
  6. Lynx are found in a variety of shades of gray, yellow, brown, and tan whereas most bobcats have brown-colored fur with black spots. 
  7. The tip of the tail of a lynx is entirely black but it is white underneath the tip of the tail of a bobcat.

Conclusion

Bobcats are a species of lynx hence they share many similarities. But, bobcats are slightly smaller in size than the rest of the species of lynx and also geographically secluded to North America. Bobcats are found mostly in Canada, Mexico, and the US whereas lynx are spread across many continents. Both lynx and bobcats prey on small animals and they don’t interact with humans.

The identifiable feature that distinguishes a lynx and a bobcat is the tail. One can also differentiate them based on their size but it is not a very promiscuous feature. The range of habitat of a bobcat is more diverse than lynx because the latter prefers to inhabit very cold regions. None of them are endangered species although the Iberian lynx are reducing in number. 

References

  1. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rspb.2013.2495
  2. https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/27329
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