The Bobcat

Yearly Cycle of Power: Early Summer
Time of Power: Dawn, Dusk
Attributes : Camouflage, Light, Surprise, Awareness, Secrets 

There are not many large cats in North America, and the Bobcat may or may not be one of them. To explain, many consider the Bobcat to be a large cat, but he really isn't that big. The Bobcat (Lynx Rufus) is between 2-4 feet long (including bobbed tail), 14-16 inches tall, and between 15-30 pounds. Some house cats can even approach this size, so you can understand why this may not be considered a large cat. In comparison, the Cougar can weigh up to 160 pounds. It is in the Lynx family but is generally smaller than any of the other Lynx species. The Bobcat is usually brownish or tannish with dark streaks on its body and black bars on its tail and forelegs. Its ears are tufted and black and it has ruffs of hair on its face that make it look wider than it is. It lives from Northern Mexico all the way up to Southern Canada. It overlaps some territory with the Lynx, but generally the two cats do not share habitat.

All of the Bobcat's special adaptations are in regard to its ability as a stealthy hunter. One could argue that the Bobcat is 'the' stealthy hunter out there. Its markings offer some of the best camouflage around. Even newly born Bobcat kittens have their camouflage markings. Beyond this, Bobcat's have an intuitive ability to know how, where, and when to blend into their local environment. They are rarely seen in the wild because they are so adept at hiding. It has excellent hearing and vision, and a good sense of smell. It can climb quite well and is a capable swimmer. It is also quite capable of adapting its schedule to that of its main prey. It is crepuscular by nature (active at dawn and dusk), but may switch to being nocturnal or diurnal depending on when its prey is active during that time of year. The Bobcat can also go for extended periods without food, but when food is found, it will eat heavily. They can live and hunt in many environments including desert edges, swamps, woodlands, and urban edges.

The snowshoe hare is the main diet of the Bobcat. Where there is snowshoe hare (in the Bobcats range), there are most likely Bobcats. They don't seem to retreat at the advance of Human habitat, so they may even live in urban environments as long as there is prey to be had. Other than snowshoe hare, they will also prey upon other rabbits and hares, rodents, insects, etc. In other words, it is adaptable to the prey that is available. It can even take down small deer if need be, up to 5 times its own mass. That's incredible! Its hunting techniques rely on an ambush and pounce technique which requires it to be wise in the ways of its prey, to know when and where they will be and to be stealthy and hidden until the time is right. This method is actually shown in the skeletal structure of the bobcat, which has longer hind legs than front. This allows it to make powerful leaps seemingly beyond its size. It may travel upwards of 7 miles each day in its hunting routine. It is not preyed upon my many other than man, although wolves and cougars have been known to prey upon bobcats.

Bobcats live about 6 to 8 years. In captivity, they may live up to 32 years of age. They are not very social animals by nature, having ranges of up to 100 square miles with the female ranges overlapping the males. Unlike other animals, the males don't seem to mind if other males encroach on their territories, but the females are quite territorial. They are able to mate once they are 2 years old and they are not exclusive in their mating. One female may mate with several males and one male with many females, etc. The female raises her young alone after 70 days of gestation. By 9 or 10 days, the young open their eyes and at 4 weeks they can move about. After 2 months they are weaned and at about 5 months they can hunt for themselves and often disperse to their own territories.

The mythology for the Bobcat can be difficult as it is often mixed with that of the Lynx, and for the old world mythology it is only lynx which can be a source. The name lynx actually comes from the word light'. Considering this though, there is some interesting information. The Bobcat is often mentioned as the twin and opposite of Coyote. So where coyote is chaos, bobcat is order. In one myth, the Bobcat is outwitted by a rabbit. He traps the rabbit in a tree and the rabbit convinces him to start a fire. It singes his coat giving him the dark bars. The Bobcat is also strongly associated with the wind in many myths. In other myths, the Bobcat was one of the 4 protectors of the evening star (Venus). In Egyptian mythology, the Bobcat (Lynx) is associated with Mafdet, a Lynx headed goddess who was the destroyer of scorpions and other venomous animals. Mafdet was considered a part of Bast though, so ultimately the Bobcat can be associated with Bast as well. In Norse mythology, the Bobcat (Lynx) was associated with Freya. Within the Spiric archetypes I can see Bobcat fitting in with both order and independence.

The Bobcat totem is a person that excels at blending in. They do not like being in the spotlight, so to speak. They prefer to observe their surroundings from a camouflaged location. At a party or gathering, you just won't notice these individuals. It's not because they are dull or anything like that. Its because they are actively blending. They may have moments when they 'pounce' in from their hiding and then everyone takes note, but these choose these moments to their greatest advantage. The Bobcat totem is the sort of person that takes in everything around them. They see all the subtle spoken and non verbal communication that goes on between people, they see all the comings and goings of those around them. They are just superbly aware of everything. This can be discomforting for some as they know the bobcat totem will see right through their facades. Not to worry though, the Bobcat is also great at keeping secrets. Just keep him or her on your good side. Otherwise, they may use that information in surprising ways! In love, the Bobcat can be a bit aloof. He or she will initially be very proactive and romantic in a relationship, but it will soon fade and the Bobcat totem will bore. If you are the partner of a Bobcat totem, try your hardest to keep things edgy and new. Make sure you constantly surprise them as that keeps them on their toes. Bobcats do not do well in careers that need a lot of social interaction. They do excel in areas where a lot of information needs to be processed and they can work in relative isolation. Things like air traffic control, espionage, private investigator, building inspector, and auditing are all examples of careers that would suit a Bobcat Totem.

Written by RavenDreamer