Bobcat Dens | The Ultimate Guide

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There are a lot of things that you probably don’t know about bobcats and one of those things probably relates to their dens. A bobcat den is usually a protected location where a bobcat can safely rest and sleep without being in direct danger of any predators.

Bobcats make their dens in caves, rock formations, tree stumps, and more. It’s not uncommon for bobcats to have multiple dens in their local region. These protected locations are imperative for bobcats because their population relies on having a safe location to dwell away from predators in the wilderness.

Bobcats use several factors to determine a location where they may establish a den for themselves. In the next section, we will analyze some of these factors and provide some examples along the way. 

Most Common Bobcat Dens In The Wilderness

If you are interested in learning more about bobcat dens, then you certainly need to understand their purpose. The ultimate goal of a bobcat den is to protect the bobcat from any environmental dangers or predators.

Dens can certainly protect bobcats from other hunting predators, but one thing that a lot of people don’t think about is the environment itself. Harsh weather can be just as dangerous to a bobcat as it can be to any other animal. Thunderstorms, heavy rain, and lightning strikes are all included in this list of dangerous hazards.

Bobcats will generally want to look for a location that is protected from all of these possibilities and that is one of the reasons that rock formations and caves are at the top of the list. 


Caves are usually considered the most common natural formation that can be used as a bobcat den. They provide excellent protection from most predators out in the wilderness and they can shield bobcats from dangerous weather conditions. 

Bobcats oftentimes roam around mountainous regions and forests where many different caves can generally be found. Bobcats also live in the desert, luckily, many caves can be found in the desert environment as well.  


Just about anywhere out in the wilderness, you might expect to find a suitable tree or fallen tree that might be perfect to serve as a bobcat den. Not all trees are suitable because some trees don’t offer ideal protection from predators, this is why they prefer a cluster of fallen trees or a tree stump. 

Bobcats can also climb trees. They do this to escape from predators and to hide from human activity. Sometimes they even do it to sleep, even though they prefer dens for sleeping.

See our article for Can Bobcats Climb Trees


Some rocks provide excellent protection from the environmental hazards that were previously mentioned. You might walk by a rock formation in the wilderness and not even know that a bobcat is living there because they are capable of creating a den that is completely isolated from the wilderness. Source.

Rock formations are probably a bobcat’s second favorite place to call home, next to caves. They can dig down underneath, creating a cave-like environment. They have also been known to steal rock formation dens from other animals.

How Can You Tell a Bobcat Den?

Bobcats take several measures to secure their dens, such as marking them with urine and feces. This can be a great way to tell if an area you suspect is a bobcat den is actually that. You may also notice claw marks outside of the den or around the den area.

There could also be a latrine area nearby, where they relieve themselves. Claw marks on trees could be another sign, as well as prey that is dragged up to an area, and left for later meals.

Do Female Bobcats Protect Their Kittens In Dens?

After a female bobcat gives birth to kittens, the number one priority for the mother is to find protective locations for her kittens. Many of these dens are pre-built and established before the female bobcat ever gives birth and are called natal dens, or maternity dens.

It’s not uncommon for kittens to be relocated by the mother bobcat to constantly stay out of danger from potential predators, which is one of the reasons they keep multiple dens in their region.

All bobcats have a territory range that they are comfortable roaming around in. These regions can be several miles across and bobcats generally become familiar with their territories pretty quickly. Some bobcats keep up to a dozen dens memorized so that they can move from location to location in the wilderness without any challenges. Source.

If one den becomes unserviceable due to predators or environmental conditions, the bobcat may find a new location to replace the old one. Bobcats are constantly facing challenges and one of those challenges happens to be balancing out all of the safe locations and dens that they can establish in their local territory. 

Why Do Bobcats Mark Their Shelter?

Like most wild animals, bobcats rely heavily on their senses to survive. By marking their territory and shelters, they can remember locations and let other animals know that the shelter is not up for grabs. It’s basically a warning to prevent other predators from coming in and invading.

Bobcats are considered to be nocturnal. This means that they sleep during most of the day and roam around at night. Some of their activities during the night might include hunting for food or trying to establish a new den in their territory. 

During the daytime, bobcats will usually retreat to their nearest den and rest for several hours at a time. It’s extremely uncommon to spot a bobcat in the wilderness during the daytime because they rarely reveal themselves during that time of day. They are stealthy creatures that mostly like to roam around the wilderness in the darkness of the night. 

See our article for Bobcats Nocturnal Habits

Do Bobcats Dig Dens

Since bobcats make their homes under rock formations, tree stumps, and fallen tree clusters, they have to dig underneath these places to create a livable den underneath the ground. Sometimes they will dig deep dens with a lot of space, this is usually done with natal dens.

Other times they may dig a shallow den that is mostly for sleeping. They will also take over dens from other animals, that have been abandoned or left for long periods of time.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of things to remember when thinking about bobcat dens but this information can be important if you want to gain a better understanding of bobcats and their lifestyles. 

By understanding the different types of bobcat dens, you’ll be familiar with possible locations where bobcats may be living in the wilderness. This information can be especially useful if you think that you might be living in a region where there are a lot of bobcats. 

Bobcats don’t like to be disturbed in their personal den. It can be extremely dangerous to invade a bobcat’s den, especially if a female bobcat is inside with her kittens. You should try to understand the types of clues to look for when roaming around the wilderness so that you don’t accidentally come across a bobcat’s den. 

Chad Fox