Den Switching

In the bobcat (Lynx rufus) world, den selection and rearing of young is left to females. After mating in late March or April, the mother bobcat will seek out an adequate shelter where she can raise her kittens.

Within a bobcat’s territory, which can be anywhere between 1 to 18 square miles, a mama cat will have a few different shelters. These dens are often located in rocky crevices or caves and are filled with dead plants for bedding and warmth.

As kittens get older, they eventually start joining mom on trips away from home. As they travel further and further from their natal den — the one that is most frequently used –, the family will take refuge in auxiliary dens. These remote dens are distributed throughout her territory and may be in stumps, bushes, or downed trees.

Switching dens also helps protect the young family from predators. Moving kittens from one den to the next helps throw predators off their scent!

Denise Peterson

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