From Ohio History Central
|Scientific Name:||Lynx rufus|
|Habitat:||Variety of areas from lowland swamps to forested mountain areas. Cover can be open or dense.|
|Adult Weight:||average 28 lbs., male; average 15 lbs, female|
|Adult Body Length:||32 -37 inches male; 29 - 34 inches, female|
|Breeding Period:||December - May|
|Litters Per Year:||1|
|Litter Size:||1 - 6|
|Life Expectancy:||12 years maximum; average much shorter|
|Foods:||Carnivore - Fish, birds, mammals (especially rodents, rabbits and deer), insects, reptiles and amphibians.|
The Bobcat is slightly larger than a house cat. It has a yellowish to reddish-brown coat, with black spots. It looks very similar to the lynx, but the top of the tips of its ears is black (on the lynx, the entire tip of the ear is black). The short tail is black on top and white below. They are solitary animals that roam over a large range of up to 78 square miles. They are crepuscular and will lie and wait for its prey, pouncing when it comes near. Whatever meat is not eaten, is hidden and eaten over the next few days.
They range from southern Canada to northern Mexico, except along the mid-Atlantic coast and through most of the Midwest because of lack of habitat and large human populations.
The teeth and bones of the Bobcat have been found in prehistoric mounds. The image of the Bobcat has been found on prehistoric pipes.
The Bobcat is native to Ohio and were found throughout the unglaciated section of Ohio, especially the eastern and southeastern portion of the state, mainly in areas of cliffs and steep slopes, with heavy woods near pastures and cultivated fields.
As forests were cleared and swamp areas were drained by early settlers, Bobcat populations declined. They have been mentioned in the diaries of many early Ohio residents. However, these writings often refer to them as "panthers" - a term that was also used for the cougar and lynx, making an accurate identification difficult.
By 1850, they were extirpated from Ohio. Persistent hunting and trapping were the cause for their disappearance.
From the middle of the 19th century until the 1960s, there were only occasional sightings of the Bobcat. In 1930, R.K.Enders wrote: "There are frequent newspaper reports of the capture of this large cat, but a large reward posted by a group of Columbus men has failed to produce any recent record of its existence in the state." There were no recorded sightings of Bobcats in the 1940s.
Photographs showing Bobcats that had been shot in Ohio counties (Hocking, 1960; Guernsey, 1971; Gallia, 1978.), proved that a small population was in the state. Between 1970 and 1997, there were 24 verified identifications of the Bobcat.
In 1976, the Bobcat was declared an endangered species in the state of Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in 1997, began a project to monitor the Bobcat population in the state. They are relying on archery, turkey and squirrel hunters to report any possible Bobcat sighting. The cats are very secretive and extremely difficult to locate. ODNR is getting good information and reports from the hunters and general public. In years to come, this information will be used to decide whether a reintroduction program would be worth considering.