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Bobcat vs. Mountain Lion: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 17, 2023
A bobcat is a smaller wild cat with tufted ears and a short tail, while a mountain lion is a larger predator also known as a cougar or puma.

Key Differences

Bobcats are medium-sized wildcats with distinctive pointed ears and a stubby "bobbed" tail, which gives them their name. In contrast, mountain lions are much larger predators, known for their muscular build and longer tails, which can be as long as three feet.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
A bobcat's coat usually features spots or stripes, which help them blend into their surroundings, especially when stalking prey. On the other hand, mountain lions typically have a solid-colored coat, often tawny or grayish, without prominent markings.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
While bobcats are versatile and can be found in various habitats across North America, from forests to semi-deserts, mountain lions have an even broader range, stretching from Canada to South America. They can inhabit both mountains and plains.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
A bobcat's diet typically consists of smaller prey like rabbits, birds, or rodents. In contrast, mountain lions, being larger, tend to hunt deer, elk, and even other predators on occasion. Their powerful build allows them to tackle larger prey with ease.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
Another distinctive difference is their behavior. While both are solitary animals, bobcats are often more tolerant of human presence and might be seen in areas closer to human settlements. Mountain lions, however, are more reclusive and tend to avoid areas heavily populated by humans.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Size

Medium-sized wildcat.
Much larger predator.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Appearance

Pointed ears, bobbed tail, often spotted.
Muscular, long tail, solid-colored coat.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Habitat

Forests to semi-deserts across North America.
Ranges from Canada to South America; mountains to plains.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Diet

Smaller prey like rabbits, birds.
Larger prey like deer, elk.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Human Proximity

Can be seen closer to human settlements.
More reclusive, avoids populated areas.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
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Bobcat and Mountain Lion Definitions

Bobcat

Known for its tufted ears and short tail.
I recognized the animal as a bobcat because of its tail.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

Mountain Lion

Hunts larger prey including deer and elk.
The deer remains were evidence of a mountain lion's hunt.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Bobcat

Solitary predator that hunts smaller prey.
The bobcat stalked the rabbit with precision.
Huma Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Mountain Lion

Inhabits a wide range from mountains to plains.
The mountain lion's territory stretched over several miles.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Bobcat

Adaptable and can live in various habitats.
The bobcat thrives in both forests and grasslands.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Mountain Lion

A large wildcat also known as a cougar or puma.
The mountain lion is known for its stealth and power.
Huma Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Bobcat

A medium-sized wildcat native to North America.
The bobcat left its tracks in the snow.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

Mountain Lion

Has a solid-colored coat without prominent markings.
The tawny fur of the mountain lion camouflaged it in the grass.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Bobcat

Often has a spotted or striped coat.
The bobcat's coat helps it camouflage in the woods.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Mountain Lion

Solitary and reclusive, often avoiding human areas.
Mountain lions are rarely seen due to their elusive nature.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Bobcat

A wild cat (Lynx rufus) of North America, having spotted reddish-brown fur, tufted ears, and a short tail. Also called bay lynx.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 16, 2020

Bobcat

A North American wildcat, Lynx rufus, having tufted ears and a short tail.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 16, 2020

Bobcat

A multi-purpose construction vehicle, akin to a smaller version of a front-end loader or a backhoe (backhoe loader), with a one-man caged control cabin.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 16, 2020

Bobcat

Small lynx (Lynx rufus) of North America.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 16, 2020

Bobcat

Small lynx of North America
Sumera Saeed
Feb 16, 2020

FAQs

Where do mountain lions live?

Mountain lions inhabit a wide range, from Canada to South America, in both mountainous and flat terrains.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Do bobcats attack humans?

While rare, bobcats can attack if threatened or if humans come too close to their kittens.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Can I spot a bobcat during the day?

While bobcats are primarily nocturnal, they can be occasionally seen during daylight.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

How big can a mountain lion get?

Mountain lions can weigh up to 200 pounds or more.
Huma Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Are mountain lions and cougars the same?

Yes, mountain lion is another name for the cougar.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Are bobcats endangered?

Bobcats are not currently endangered, but their habitat is under threat in some areas.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

What do bobcats eat?

Bobcats primarily eat smaller prey like rabbits, birds, and rodents.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

How fast can a mountain lion run?

Mountain lions can reach speeds up to 50 mph in short bursts.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Are mountain lions aggressive towards humans?

While rare, mountain lions can be aggressive, especially if cornered or if a human comes near their cubs.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

How far can a mountain lion jump?

Mountain lions can leap as far as 40 feet when running.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

How long can bobcats live?

In the wild, bobcats can live up to 10-12 years.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Can bobcats swim?

Yes, bobcats can swim but typically prefer not to.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Do mountain lions have any predators?

While they are apex predators, mountain lions can be threatened by other large predators, humans, and even by their own kind.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Where does the name "mountain lion" come from?

The name reflects the animal's habitat and its lion-like appearance.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

What is a bobcat?

A bobcat is a medium-sized wildcat native to North America.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Do mountain lions climb trees?

Yes, mountain lions are excellent climbers and can often be found in trees.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

How long is a bobcat's tail?

A bobcat's tail is typically between 4 to 7 inches long.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

How can I differentiate a mountain lion's track from other animals?

Mountain lion tracks are roundish with a distinctive "M" shape at the front and don't have claw marks.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

Do bobcats live in groups?

No, bobcats are solitary animals.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Are bobcats related to domestic cats?

Yes, bobcats belong to the Felidae family, making them relatives of domestic cats.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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