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The bobcat (Lynx rufus), also known as the red lynx, is a medium-sized cat native to North America. It ranges from southern Canada through most of the contiguous United States to Oaxaca in Mexico. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2002, due to its wide distribution and large population. Although it has been hunted extensively both for sport and fur, populations have proven stable, though declining, in some areas.
It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby (or “bobbed”) tail, from which it derives its name. It reaches a body length of up to 125 cm (49 in). It is an adaptable predator inhabiting wooded areas, semidesert, urban edge, forest edge, and swampland environments. It remains in some of its original range, but populations are vulnerable to local extinction by coyotes and domestic animals. Though the bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it hunts insects, chickens, geese and other birds, small rodents, and deer. Prey selection depends on location and habitat, season, and abundance. Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary, although with some overlap in home ranges. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or feces. The bobcat breeds from winter into spring and has a gestation period of about two months.