For most people, the Bobcat is probably the most easily identified cat in the Pacific Northwest. Although its fur color can change from individual to individual or according to season, they are typically dark tan or gray. There are often dark streaks on the back and legs, although these too can vary according to specimen. The tail is stub-like and usually tipped in black. The most identifiable characteristic is the face. Large tufts of fur that extend in front of the ears and from the cheeks give the cat’s face a large, distinctive contour. This striking, intelligent look makes the Bobcat are a favorite subject for wildlife photographers. Although a different species from the Canada Lynx, they look very similar. These medium-sized predators are active during the twilight hours, usually roaming a well-established territory in search of small mammals, birds, fish and insects.
Their versatile diet has helped the Bobcat survive in North America, despite being heavily hunted by people in generations past. Their survivability is also aided by a natural shyness and innate ability to remain unseen by potential enemies. Unlike the other common mid-sized predator on the coast, the Coyote, Bobcats are reluctant to approach inhabited areas although they will occasionally feed on livestock or domesticated pets if the opportunity presents itself.
The Bobcat prefers to live in forest and woodlands. Along the Oregon Coast, they are more typically spotted in the upland areas although they can stray into bays or estuaries where birdlife is plentiful. When human habitation abuts a wild area, Bobcats can be spotted in back yards, golf courses or other outdoor areas.