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Are Bobcats Nocturnal & When Do They Hunt Their Prey?

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Bobcats are nocturnal. Like other felines, they are active and hunt at night. They are well adapted to a nocturnal lifestyle but also have crepuscular tendencies. Bobcats don’t exclusively come out during the night. Depending on the situation, they can behave diurnal.

Bobcats are nocturnal, but they are adaptable and switch their behavior according to the environment. 

They prefer acting like crepuscular animals, being active just before sunrise and right after sunset.

But what do bobcats do during the day? And can they see in the dark?

In this article, we’ll explore the answers to those questions and more. We will find out about how they adapt to change and when they are the most and least active.

What Makes an Animal Nocturnal?

Being nocturnal means that an animal is active during the night and sleeps during the day.  Nocturnal animals, such as the bobcat are generally well-adapted to nightlife having sharper senses.

Nocturnal animals are ones that are more active during the night than during the day. They adopt this behavior for a number of reasons: 

  • Different food sources than diurnal animals.
  • Fewer chances to run into predators or competition.
  • It’s easier to be sneaky.
  • It’s cooler during the night, so less exhaustion.

Thanks to the advantages of such a lifestyle about 65% of all mammals alive today are nocturnal.[1]

Are Bobcats Nocturnal?

Bobcats are both nocturnal and crepuscular. This means they enjoy the low light conditions of the twilight hours, right before dawn and after sunset. This is when bobcats are most active and do most of their hunting.

Bobcats are nocturnal because they take advantage of the active nightlife. Like most other felines they are well adapted to functioning in the dark.

Most bobcats alive today do not lead purely nocturnal lives. They are usually more active after sunset, and before dawn. 

This is when they prefer to hunt and travel under normal conditions.[2]

bobcats at night

When Are Bobcats Most Active?

Bobcats are most active when their prey is active. They adapt to the prey in the different seasons and regions they live in. While they usually aren’t active during the day, an opportunity for a meal would change that.

Depending on the time of year, season, and region they inhabit bobcats will switch to a more nocturnal or diurnal activity pattern.

Bobcats closer to humans tend to be more nocturnal than ones found deeper in the wilds. This is because of their solitary and shy tendencies. They also see the night as a better time to steal food from yards, and might even hunt for domestic animals and pets, snatching them from yards.

Are Bobcats Crepuscular?

Bobcats are crepuscular like other predators such as bears. This means they are active during the low light conditions of dusk and dawn. This is when they are most active and when most of their hunting happens.

There are several reasons why animals such as bobcats prefer a nocturnal, crepuscular lifestyle:

  • Abundance of prey
  • Cooler time of day
  • The way mammals evolved[3]
  • Avoiding predators

The advantages of a crepuscular activity pattern made bobcats switch from a traditional nocturnal one. 

The expansion of humans across the bobcat’s natural range was also a factor in this transition.

Do Bobcats Come Out During The Day?

Yes, bobcats do come out during the day. It’s not their usual or preferred behavior but they are sometimes active in the daytime.

They can switch to a more diurnal activity pattern when it’s necessary. They will do so when prey isn’t as available at night, such as in the winter in colder and temperate climates.

Do Bobcats Come Out During The Day

When Are Bobcats Least Active?

Bobcats are generally the least active during the day. They are nocturnal and have crepuscular tendencies so they prefer to be inactive when the sun is up.

Bobcats spend the least time hunting during the day. They are nocturnal and thrive in low light conditions. They will sleep more when their prey isn’t active and they have nothing else to do.

If it is necessary they will hunt and move in the daytime too. It all depends on the animals they hunt. Carnivores such as the bobcat follow the prey more than anything.

Bobcats’ Activity Pattern Depending on Region

The activity pattern of bobcats varies with place, temperature, and season. They will switch up their daily activity depending on the time of year and prey availability.

Bobcats’ general activity pattern changes depending on the region.

AreaSummerWinter
Northern US & CanadaNocturnal, CrepuscularDiurnal or Crepuscular
Southern US & MexicoNocturnal, CrepuscularNocturnal, Crepuscular

They also tend to be diurnal in colder climates because of these factors:

  • Temperature
  • Light levels
  • Snow coverage
  • Pray availability

Temperature affects the bobcat’s activity pattern more than light. They are more active during the day in winter as it’s warmer, in summer they are active at night so it’s easier to cool down.

The more snow coverage there is the less active they are to preserve energy.[4]

What Do Bobcats Do During the Day?

Bobcats hunt, eat and sleep during the day. Like most other felines and predators, bobcats are driven by instinct. They will hunt when the opportunity arises regardless of their preferred activity pattern.

Bobcats spend their average day hunting, eating, and sleeping. They follow their instincts, and will even wake up from the famous “cat naps” to seize an opportunity to hunt prey. 

If they don’t have a successful hunt they go back to sleep.

They also travel a lot, anywhere from one to seven miles per day, but this also depends on the region. Bobcats in colder climates, like in the north travel less than their southern counterparts.[5]

What Do Bobcats Do During the Day

When Do Bobcats Sleep?

Bobcats sleep during the day. They sleep for a few hours and stay awake for another few, like other cats. They take naps and wake up if something alerts them or if they need to move.

Bobcats sleep a lot. They spend many hours sleeping during the inactive part of the day. 

Depending on the region and season they sleep at different times of the day, but they usually sleep more during the daytime.

After a successful hunt and a hearty meal they usually sleep for a couple of hours. Similarly, if they don’t succeed in a hunt, have traveled a long distance, or are tired, they will sleep.

How Much Do Bobcats Sleep?

Bobcats sleep a lot. Like other felines, bobcats spend a large part of their days sleeping. They don’t have an exact sleep schedule so they sleep as long as they need to until something grabs their attention.

All bobcat sleeps a lot, but they don’t all need an exact number of hours. Depending on the regions they live in, and the temperature, the number of hours slept varies.

They are active for up to eight hours and then inactive from one to eight hours. 

They will wake up whenever they hear a sound that alerts them. And they are always looking for possible prey.

Where Do Bobcats Sleep?

Bobcats sleep in dens. They can have many dens across their ranges, in hollowed-out or fallen trees, in small protected rocky areas, caves, and many other places.

Where Do Bobcats Sleep
Image Source

Can Bobcats See at Night?

Yes, bobcats can see at night. They have the same eyes as other felines, adapted to seeing in low light conditions. This is also one of the reasons they are proficient nocturnal hunters.

Bobcats see very well at night. Like other felines, their eyes adapt to low light conditions. They have vertical pupils, which allow them to adapt to the amount of light in the environment.

They have slightly better vision than housecats but they still aren’t as good at seeing far away things as humans are.

Conclusion

Bobcats are both nocturnal and crepuscular. They are usually active and hunt at night, as well as around dusk and twilight. 

Their sleep schedule changes depending on their region and temperatures, and under certain conditions, they even act as diurnal animals. Their adaptability

means they are active whenever an opportunity to hunt shows itself.

FAQs

What Do Bobcats Do at Night?

At night bobcats usually hunt and travel, in colder climates, they also do that during the day.

What Time Of Day Are Bobcats Most Active?

Bobcats are usually most active just before sunrise and right after sunset. They prefer the low light conditions around dusk and twilight. They are most active when prey is also active and when the temperature is to their liking. Depending on the region, that means at night in hotter climates and even during the day in colder ones and winter.

Do Bobcats Hibernate?

Bobcats don’t hibernate, they are active all year and their activity doesn’t slow down with the seasons. They switch around the times of day during which they are active.

Are Florida Bobcats Nocturnal?

Yes, bobcats in Florida are nocturnal. This Floridian subspecies likes being active as most bobcats, around dusk and dawn and at night.

Do Bobcats Call at Night?

Bobcats regularly call at night. They are noisier at night because that’s when they’re usually active. The reasons for the sounds they make vary from defending their territory to mating sounds. You can hear a bobcat’s eerie scream at night, especially in mating season.

About Codrin Frunzete

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