Lynx vs Bobcat

Lynx vs Bobcat Understand the difference

The lynx and bobcat are two species that belong to the lynx genus. Lynx have long legs, larger paws, and furrier heads, while bobcats have smaller bodies and a shorter, stubbier, “bobbed” tail.

These two predators might look a little similar but have a number of differences. Whether you consider yourself a true cat lover or not, it is quite easy to mistake one for the other. 

What is a Lynx?

A lynx is a cat with long legs, huge paws, tufted ears, furry soles, and a broad, short head. The lynx’s tail tip and ear tufts are usually black, while the coat creates a ruff around their neck and tends to be golden with brown and black spots.

Humans seek the dense, silky winter fur, which has hair up to 10 cm long, to use as trim on clothing. Without the 10-20 cm tail, the majority of lynx are between 80 and 120 cm long and 60 cm tall at the shoulder. 

The average weight is between 22 and 44 pounds; however, Eurasian Lynx are frequently bigger. Males are always bigger than females in all subspecies of lynx.

Lynx vs bobcat: The lynx's tail shape differs from the bobcat's.

What are Bobcats?

Bobcats, often known as wildcats, are about twice as large as typical house cats. They resemble their bigger cousin, the Canada Lynx, in size and have long legs, broad paws, and tufted ears. 

Since they are nocturnal and secretive, bobcats are rarely spotted. Despite being rarely observed, they are present in most North American states and may easily adapt to a variety of environments, including woods, marshes, dunes, and even affluent suburbs.

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The majority of bobcats have a short tail with a black tip, a white underbelly, and a brown or brownish-red body. The bobcat’s tail, which looks chopped or “bobbed,” gave rise to its name.

The bobcat has a short, "bobbed" tail, which sets it apart from the lynx.

Lynx vs Bobcat: Differences Explained

Below are the main factors that help in differentiating a bobcat from a lynx:


The geographic range is often the clearest indicator of whether it’s a lynx or a bobcat. The only lynx population found in North America and Mexico is the bobcat, a species of the lynx genus, with a few overlaps. 

The bobcat lives in a variety of settings, including marshes and deserts, unlike the Canadian, Eurasian, and Iberian Lynx, which are typically located in cold regions with heavy yearly snowfall. Because of this, it is simple to recognize bobcats just by looking at their environment.

Only southern Canada and some states, including Washington and Montana, are within the territory of the Canadian Lynx. To accurately identify the animal in these locations, you might need to look closer.

Feet and Legs

The majority of lynx species are well-suited to living in severe, frigid environments. They can move swiftly over the deep snow because of their large, cushioned soles, longer legs, and spread toes.

The bobcat makes a little exception. Its native range reaches as far south as Mexico and the southern United States, where there is hardly any snow. They have smaller paws and feet, with very little hair on the bottoms and shorter legs.

Patterns and Fur Color

It’s challenging to generalize too much about the lynx’s fur color because it tends to fluctuate quite a little depending on the season between gray, yellow, tan, and brown. 

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The bobcat, however, often has a brown coat of hair with deeper black patches and a tail with black bands. Though maybe less than the Iberian Lynx, it often has many more patches than the Canadian Lynx.

The purpose of this fur pattern is to enable the bobcat to mix in with its surroundings and rapidly attack its victim. In comparison to the strongly related Canadian Lynx, it also has smaller tufts of fur that originate from the cheeks and ears.


The bobcat is the shortest of the four lynx species. It may grow as tall as around 2 feet and as long as 41 inches from head to tail. In terms of weight, it is also the lightest.

The Canadian Lynx is just a little bigger, like coyotes, so it could be challenging to tell them apart at a glance based only on size, especially considering how much size varies between individuals.


Even if they have access to alternative food sources, bobcats are carnivores and commonly add mice and birds to their diets. When the chance presents itself, a Bobcat that lives in a swamp will eat various snake and lizard species.

The bigger size of the lynx, on the other hand, allows them to take down larger prey. Even bigger wild animals like mule deer can become food for Lynx; however, it is not their preferred method. Between 60 and 90% of the diet of the Canadian Lynxes consists of hares.


Every member of the lynx clan will take every precaution to stay away from people. Although they have a healthy fear of people, they are accustomed to avoiding other huge animals, including mountain lions, bears, and wolf groups.

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Compared to their bigger cousins, bobcats are smaller, more aggressive, and attack more quickly. Both lynxes and bobcats often turn back and flee from people, making it rather uncommon to ever witness one. But when confronted, you can count on them to fight back vehemently. 

Is a Lynx Stronger than a Bobcat?

Lynxes are larger than bobcats and tend to be bigger animals. However, Bobcats are more aggressive but they can be domestic cats. Both these animals tend to shy away from humans, but in case they are cornered, both lynx and bobcat can defend themselves aggressively and are known to hold their ground. 

Therefore, these two fierce animals might look pretty similar but have many differences.

Lynx vs Bobcat
31 in. to 51 in. long Length 26 in. to 42 in. long
Mountains, woods, and steppes Habitat Mountains, marshes, deserts, and temperate forests
Hefty frame with cushioned feet Body Smaller frame with exposed foot soles
Spain, Canada, and the whole of Asia and Europe. Geographic Range Mexico, the United States, and southern Canada.
18 lbs. to 64 lbs. Weight 11 lbs. to 37 lbs.

The differences between lynxes and bobcats are subtle, as they’re part of the same genus. If you’re interested in exploring other similar felines, check out our post comparing the differences between cheetahs and leopards.


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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