The typical bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a medium-sized cat about two times the size of a domestic cat. It weighs between 9 and 33 pounds and is about 25 to 40 inches long. Bobcats, also red lynxes, or wildcats, are native to North America and love to prey on mice, rabbits, and deer.
One can easily recognize them by their distinctive bobbed tails and black bars on their two front legs.
Bobcats are solitary animals that tend to avoid humans as much as possible. They’re also nocturnal; one may only see them between dawn and dusk when they’re active. So, it may be challenging to confirm if they’ve invaded a neighborhood.
However, bobcats are also territorial animals that love to mark their space with poop. We’ll discuss how to identify a bobcat’s poop in this article.
What Does Bobcat Poop Look Like?
There are many ways to identify a bobcat’s scat; we’ll start with its texture. A bobcat’s poop has different textures, depending on whether it is wet or dry. When wet, the dung is smooth and quite shiny; when dry, it becomes hard and darkened. A watery bobcat dropping indicates that the wildcat isn’t far away.
Additionally, tracks next to the sighting can confirm that it is fresh bobcat poop. Not all scat looks the same, they can vary in consistency and texture depending on the food that the bobcat ate. Furthermore, if you have only one image or sample to compare it to, it may be more difficult to spot.
When it comes to color, a bobcat’s poop is black or dark brown and looks similar to a coyote’s dropping. Its shape is tubular and typically looks like a long string with shorter ones by the sides. A bobcat’s poop is about three to five inches long with blunt ends and segments in-between.
How Does a Bobcat’s Poop Smell?
It depends on how soon one finds them and whether it’s accompanied by urine. If the bobcat’s scat has stayed for long and is already dry, it’ll likely have no smell. However, a fresh bobcat poop accompanied by urine will smell pungent. Bobcats usually cover their scat with leaves, soil, or dirt.
Does Bobcat Poop Pose Health Risks To Humans?
Examining a bobcat’s scat remains the best way to determine if they’re in a neighborhood. However, exercising utmost caution when doing this is important, as their poop can create a health risk. Bobcat scat can spread diseases to humans and pets, as they are common carriers of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis.
Other bobcat-related diseases include cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis (or beaver fever), and bobcat fever (cytauxzoon felis). Common symptoms of these diseases include loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, etc.
Never inspect a bobcat’s poop with bare hands to avoid these illnesses—use a long stick instead. It’s also essential to wear hand gloves and face masks when dealing with a bobcat’s scat.
What Do Bobcats Eat?
Bobcats are carnivores and have excellent hunting skills. While they love to eat rabbits, birds, hares, and smaller animals, bobcats may go after larger creatures when their favorite meals are scarce. Bobcats generally hunt their prey by stalking and ambushing them. Next, they’ll pounce on them, pin them down, and bite their necks. Bobcats have excellent vision and sense of hearing.
In snowy regions, bobcats eat mice, grouse, red squirrels, white-tail deer, and snowshoe hares. In desert regions, rabbits, raccoons, lizards, and rock squirrels make up most of their diet.
How Does a Bobcat’s Scat Differ From Other Animals’ Droppings?
Knowing the differences between a bobcat’s poop and similar droppings of other animals is an excellent way to avoid confusion. We’ll compare a bobcat’s scat with those of mountain lions, bears, foxes, lynx, coyotes, and hedgehogs below.
- Bobcat Poop vs. Lynx Poop
Bobcat and lynx poop look so much alike that they’re the most difficult to tell apart in this list. That’s mainly because they have the same length and color. Bobcats are a lynx genus, and there’s no sure way to differentiate their scat.
- Bobcat Poop vs. Hedgehog Poop
Unlike bobcat poop with a tubular shape, hedgehog scat resembles a shiny sausage. While bobcat poop has blunt ends, one would find that the waste of a hedgehog is round at one end and narrow at the other. A hedgehog feeds on berries and insects, and one is likely to find traces of these meals in their poop.
Fox poops are shorter and thinner than bobcat droppings; unlike bobcat poop, they have pointed ends. The color of a fox’s poop ranges from dark brown to light tan. Foxes are omnivorous and love to eat small birds, rodents, berries, and earthworms. Like many other animals, one can find undigested food particles in their poop.
- Bobcat Poop vs. Coyote Poop
The best way to describe a coyote’s dropping is a “knotted rope with multiple pieces.” Like bobcat poop, a coyote’s scat has a tubular shape and droppings ranging from 3 to 5 inches long. However, large male coyotes may excrete poop as long as 12 inches. A coyote’s scat is long, curly, and tapered at the ends. It’s not unusual to find fruit remains in a coyote’s poop.
- Bobcat Poop vs. Bear Poop
Bear poop is tubular like bobcat scat and shares some resemblance to human excreta except that it’s longer. Their poop is about 2 inches wide and can weigh more than a pound. Note that a bear’s dropping may also be semi-liquid or watery, depending on what they fed on.
As omnivorous animals, bears love to eat meat and fruits depending on the weather, and you’ll likely find traces of their diet in their scat. Bear poop doesn’t pose as much health risk as a bobcat’s scat.
- Bobcat Poop vs. Mountain Lion Poop
A mountain lion’s dropping is significantly bigger than that of a bobcat, with a length of up to 5 inches and a diameter of about 1 ¼ inch. However, like bobcats, their poop may be segmented and have blunt ends. Mountain lions also love to cover their feces with soil or leaves, and one may find hair and bones in them.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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