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Untrapped Tuesdays presents Eco-hero #3: The Bobcat

photographer Anne-Marie Ferretti Mee

View the third video in our Engagement Through Film Series, “The Bobcat, A Master of Survival,for a glimpse into the life of an Eco-hero whose superpower is invisibility in plain sight. Did you know bobcats are endemic to North America?

El Lince, Maestro de la Supervivencia (Versión en Español).

The bobcat, sometimes called wildcat, is often confused with a lynx. The lynx is larger and better adapted for cold climates and deep snow, whereas the bobcat is the most widely distributed cat in North America. They can be found in many different habitats, from forests to deserts, and they sometimes even appear in urban environments.

Like all felids, bobcats are entirely carnivorous, preying primarily on small mammals such as rabbits, prairie dogs, mice, and squirrels. Despite their tendency to hunt smaller prey, these versatile cats are skilled and powerful enough to take down small deer and pronghorn antelope. Bobcats are silent ambush predators that pounce and kill prey with one bite. These agile cats are known to leap up to ten feet in the air.

In most of the bobcat’s range in Wyoming, it is considered a mesopredator or mid-ranking predator within the food web. They exert what is known as “top-down control” of ecosystems. Without bobcats, animals lower in the food chain rapidly increase in population size, resulting in over-exploitation of plant communities, disease risk, and ecosystem imbalance. Bobcats play a critical role in maintaining the health of our ecosystems.

Unfortunately, bobcats are killed for their soft, spotted fur, which is sold in international wildlife and fashion markets. Despite unknown bobcat population numbers, it’s legal to trap, snare, and hunt bobcats without limit in Wyoming. Please help us spread the word about the importance of these master hunters. For more information about Wyoming bobcats and ways you can help, visit our website at wyominguntrapped.org.

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