The Bobcat is an apex predator at the 40 Acre Woods. Widely distributed throughout most of North America, this cat is well adapted to Florida. The bobcat is equally at home in deep forest, swamps, and hammock land. Thick patches of saw palmetto and dense shrub thickets are important as den and resting sites. The usual territory range is 1 or 2 miles, I see this cat on camera often at the 40 Acre Woods. It likes to hunt squirrels and birds that are feeding at the game feeder.
Females can breed after one year and usually occurs in February or March in Florida. The average litter size is two to three kittens after a gestation period of 50 to 60 days. The young have mottled or spotted fur with more distinct facial marking than the adults, but their eyes do not open until about nine days old. The young are weaned in about two months, but not before they are taught hunting skills by their parents.
An efficient hunter, the bobcat, like most felines, hunts by sight and usually at night, but seeing a bobcat out during the day is not uncommon because they sleep for only 2 to 3 hours at a time. Small mammals are by far the most important group of prey animals. In Florida, squirrels, rabbits, rats, opossums, and small raccoons are the primary prey species.
Florida is also an important wintering habitat for migrating birds, the bobcat’s winter diet reflects this abundance and includes ground-dwelling birds such as towhees, robins, catbirds and thrashers.
Our big dog June keeps the Bobcats from eating our farm cat August at the 40 Acre Woods. I love to see these great predators thriving.