Early months with mom

With a short two month pregnancy, bobcat mothers are always on the lookout for the safest dens. Female bobcats are busy making babies, so they don’t bother constructing their own dens. Bobcats tend to find safe havens in abandoned woodrat nests, or thick piles of vegetation. On occasion, bobcat moms can find a safe place even in an urban residential backyard.

Bobcats have litters of 2-4 kittens. They are typically born from March to July with some late litters extending to October. After birth kittens are blind with spotted fur, weighing around ⅔ of a pound. It takes 6-10 days for the kittens to open their eyes. The litter will continue to nurse for 2 months before eating prey their mother brings home.

At 3 to 5 months old, the bobcat kittens join mom on nightly hunts, learning to hone their stalking and hunting skills. They usually stay with their mom for the first year. Sometimes they will disperse right before winter to create their own home ranges. Most bobcats who leave during the winter months will find home ranges close to their mother for the year. After all, there is a lot to learn about being an adult bobcat. How well the kittens have mastered their survival skills determines when they leave and how far away they will settle, as well as their eventual survival in the wild.

Lisa Wooden

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