Bobcats have a look, unlike any other wild cat. They have small bodies with a lot of muscle and power. One thing most people would like to know is do bobcats have tails? The answer will also explain why they are called bobcats. So, let’s get into this.
Bobcats have short bobbed tails. They are around 5 inches in length. Most wild cats have long tails that help them balance, bobcats hunted mostly in open fields and did not evolve to have a longer tail. Their short bobbed-looking tail is how they got the name “bobcat.”
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Unlike mountain lions, who use their long tails to balance in mountainous regions, bobcats stay a little closer to the ground. They prefer forest habitats and other types of wooded regions where they thrive best. The question has also been asked, “Do bobcats wag their tail?” The answer might surprise you. See the video example below.
Why Do Bobcats Have Short Tails?
In the wild, there are many dangers, such as predators, dangerous landscapes, and other unforeseen enemies lurking. Nature has a way of helping animals adapt when they need to. In the case of bobcats, having a long tail just wasn’t needed for their survival.
Their main hunting grounds are meadows, open areas, fields, and other types of landscapes that are easy for them to navigate without the extra balance of a long tail. They have a lot of body strength and can pounce on their prey from far away.
What Do Bobcat Tails Look Like?
Bobcat tails are short in length. They have brown and tan fur around them, with dark rings/banding or spots. They are easy to identify because their tails will have more spots or stripes than other types of North American cats. The underside of the tail is usually white.
Sometimes bobcat litters that are abandoned will get mixed up as being domestic cats. However, when the cats get larger and the bobbed tail becomes prevalent, it will be easier to tell that the kittens are bobcats.
Bobcats are the smallest of the Lynx species. Even though they are small they still pack a punch and are capable of not only surviving but thriving in the areas where they live. Their territories will sometimes overlap with other apex predators, like larger cats.
Bobcat Tail Length
As we mentioned before, bobcat tails are around 5 inches long. They can be shorter, or a little bit longer. You can expect bobcat tails to be from 4 – 7 inches long. Other types of wild cats can have shorter tails or long tails, but bobcats generally only have short tails. However, I have also read reports and have seen photographs of bobcats with unusually long tails.
Their tail has around 4 tailbones/vertebrae. It still functions as a way for them to balance but it doesn’t serve them as well as larger cats with very long tails. A cougars tail can be anywhere from 2 to 3 feet in length! Source.
Lynx Tail Vs Bobcat Tail
Bobcats are a type of Lynx, but they are a little bit different than the Candian Lynx and other species. All of the Lynx family share a smaller body size and a short tail. However, there are a few subtle differences.
The lynx tail will generally not have as much color, spots, or banding on it. It does have a black tip. The bobcat tail may also have a black tip, but there is more banding or spots. The Canadian Lynx tail is also slightly shorter than the bobcat’s tail.
Do Bobcat Kittens Have Long Tails?
When bobcats are kittens, they look very much like other types of kittens. Gray tabby cats can look a lot like bobcat kittens, and if you were to find an abandoned litter of bobcat kittens, it’s possible you would mistake them for tabby cats. Their tails would be around the same size if they were very young.
It would take time for them to get older and bigger until you would notice that the tails are not as long. There are other signs you can look for, such as rings/banding and spots. While most tabby cats have these as well, it is more prevalent on bobcats, with bigger spots and larger bands.
Once the cats started to get full size is when you would realize they are not your average cat. They will be much larger, and their tails will be noticeably shorter than a regular house cat’s tail.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Bobcat tails are usually tan and brown with banding on the top and white on the underneath. They may also have spots. The end of the bobcat’s tail is usually black-tipped.
The bobcat is smaller than the Canadian Lynx. The Canadian Lynx has longer legs and arms, than a bobcat, and is just a little bit bigger. The bobcat’s tail is usually slightly longer than a Canadian Lynx’s tail.
No, bobcat tails do not get longer over time. Once they are adult size, their tails are not going to grow. They will remain bobbed-size.
Bobcats are very good swimmers. They can move through the water with precision and with ease. Having a bobbed tail does not hinder their ability to swim in any way.