Bobcat spotted in Singletree neighborhood over the weekend
‘Just cruising by’
Bobcat sightings occur throughout North America, from southern Canada to central Mexico — and they range statewide in Colorado, according to the state’s parks and wildlife department.
On Saturday, Edwards resident Greg Nelson spotted a bobcat in his Singletree driveway late in the afternoon “just cruising by,” he said in an email to the Vail Daily.
Bobcats mostly roam in foothills, canyons, mesas and plateaus — where brush provide suitable habitat — and they tend to avoid open prairies, wetlands and tundra, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
“The staple fare of bobcats is rabbits,” the CPW species profile on bobcats says. “Like other native cats they hunt by stealth rather than engaging in long chases. When rabbits are scarce, bobcats will eat mice, voles and birds. They are active throughout the year.”
With all wildlife in Colorado, officials encourage people to respect animals, maintain distance and never feed wildlife.
Bobcat or lynx?
“The bobcat is a familiar animal, but it is secretive and seldom seen,” the CPW species profile says. “The animals are 32-37 inches long with a tail about 6 inches in length. Bobcats are similar in appearance to their cousin, the lynx.”
CPW offers five distinguishing characteristics that differentiate the bobcat from the lynx.
- Foot size: Lynx feet are very large compared to the bobcat and look out of proportion with the rest of their body.
- Tail: The tip of a lynx tail is completely black (as if the tail had been dipped in ink) while the bobcat tail has a black spot on the top and is white underneath. The tail of a bobcat is also usually longer than a lynx, although they both have the short tail making them easily distinguishable from other wild cats.
- Collars: Lynx in Colorado are released with radio collars and can sometimes be spotted with the collar itself or a 12-inch antenna that lays across their back.
- Coat and coloring: Lynx lack distinct spots and striping while a bobcat will typically have distinct spotting on their coats. The front legs of a bobcat will also often have distinct striping, as well as their faces.
- Tracks: Because of the large feet of lynx, their tracks are much larger than that of a bobcat. Bobcat footprints are about 2-3 inches across while lynx tracks are about 5 inches across — the size of a female mountain lion. The lynx stride is about 13 inches, setting it apart from mountain tracks whose stride is about 20 inches. With large amounts of fur on their feet, lynx tracks rarely show individual toes and foot identity.
For more information about wildlife in Colorado, visit the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website at cpw.state.co.us/.