Discover Nature: Bobcats

Oct 31, 2017

Watch and listen for the eerie calls of bobcats in the wild this week, with Discover Nature. Bobcats play an important role in wildlife communities as predators and scavengers.
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation

This week on Discover Nature, listen for the eerie calls of bobcats in the wild.

Several hundred years ago, bobcats lived throughout the United States. They were largely eliminated from much of the central states area, but are still scattered throughout areas with sufficient habitat.

On cool fall evenings, listen for their hisses, growls, snorts, and screams coming from the woods.

Bobcats live in heavy forest cover with underbrush, and rocky outcrops, but can be observed in almost any terrestrial habitat. Bobcats and their dens often have a strong odor, as they mark their territory with urine and feces.

Historically, they lived mostly in the Ozarks and Bootheel regions of the state, but have recently expanded to the north and west. Within their ranges, they can travel three to seven miles per night.

As predators and scavengers, bobcats play an important role in the wildlife community, helping to balance populations of rabbits, mice, squirrels, and other small mammals, and clearing the woods of carrion.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) closely monitors bobcat populations in the state. Learn more about Missouri’s bobcats with the MDC online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.