The only wild cat now found in Massachusetts, the bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a medium sized feline approximately twice the size of a domestic house cat.
The bobcat can be easily identified by its short, "bobbed" tail (3.5-7.5 inches), prominent face ruff, and slightly tufted ears. The coat of short, dense fur can vary in color from a yellowish to reddish brown with distinct or faint black spots along its flanks and white under parts that are also spotted with black. In summer, their fur tends to be shorter and more reddish in color becoming longer and much paler in the winter although there can be much variation in color among individual animals.
Adult bobcats weigh between 15 and 35 pounds and measure 28-47 inches in overall length. Size varies depending on sex with male bobcats being approximately 33% larger than their female counterparts.
Bobcats are shy, solitary, and generally elusive animals. Although they are generally silent, bobcats have a large repertoire of noises that they can produce. When confronted by an enemy, a bobcat may scowl, snarl, and spit, during the breeding season they may also be heard screaming from time to time.
Bobcat tracks may sometimes be confused with the tracks of domestic house cats although adult bobcat prints are much larger than those left by a wandering house cat.
Bobcat tracks have four toes in the front and back although the front foot actually has five toes. The fifth toe is raised high on the forefeet so it does not leave an impression when it walks.
The claws also do not leave an impression as they are usually retracted.