Bobcat predators include mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, alligators, and fishers. While they are great predators in their own right, they aren’t at the top of the food chain.
Many of the predators that live in the same habitats as bobcats pose a real threat to them. Even some similarly sized animals (like coyotes) kill bobcats.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the bobcat’s biggest predators and information about each of them. We’ll also discuss what other species can kill bobcat kittens, even if they don’t attack adults.
Top 5 Bobcat Predators
Here’s a list of the 5 most common bobcat predators:
- Mountain Lions
- American alligators
1. Mountain Lions
Mountain lions are big felines that roam across North and South America. They are large, powerful hunters, and can easily take down prey much bigger than themselves. Mountain lions are larger than bobcats and when they run into each other, bobcats don’t stand much of a chance.
|Western North America, Florida, and South America
Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are some of the fastest and strongest predators in their environment. They are carnivores, meaning they need to eat meat to survive.
Mountain lions use a combination of stealth and speed to surprise and kill their prey. They are strong and regularly kill animals much larger than themselves, like bucks and moose.
With a huge distribution across the Americas, they are found in both western North America and most of South America. The only feline larger than them across their range is the jaguar.
When it comes to killing and eating bobcats, mountain lions are thought to be purely opportunistic. They will kill and eat bobcats that cross their path, but won’t go out of their way to actively hunt them.
Bobcats are much too small to have a fighting chance against a mountain lion.
Related article: Bobcats vs. Mountain Lions
Wolves are large canine pack-hunters that live all across the world. Wolves are strong, and thanks to their pack-hunting, have been known to take down much larger prey than themselves, such as American bison, or buffalo. Even a lone wolf is enough to kill a bobcat.
|Canada, northern US, and Yellowstone.
Parts of Europe and Asia
Wolves are good hunters, especially when hunting in packs. They are carnivores, although they are known to eat berries and fruit sometimes.
They aren’t picky eaters and when food is scarce they eat carrion and even resort to cannibalism.
Wolves are pack hunters. They use group hunting strategies to tire out and slowly kill their prey. Although their historic range covered most of the northern hemisphere, it is now greatly reduced due to human predation and habitat loss.
They are slowly making a recovery in some places, such as Yellowstone National Park.
Bobcats can’t win a fight against wolves. A lone wolf is large and strong enough to kill the smaller bobcat by itself. But they usually hunt in packs, making success guaranteed.
Bobcats avoid most interactions with wolves.
Coyotes are medium-sized canines that live in packs made up of one family. They are adaptable. Thanks to this, they have spread to most of North America. Like wolves, coyotes can cooperate and take down prey larger than themselves. When bobcats and coyotes fight, bobcats end up losing.
|Most of North America, with the exception of North Eastern Canada
Coyotes are adaptable. They can be both social or solitary animals. They usually live in small packs made up of a family, but can also group up in non-familial temporary packs.
They hunt a variety of animals, from small rodents to deer, and use pack hunting to their advantage. They eat carrion and steal livestock and poultry from humans.
Because they are adaptable, they do well in most environments.
When it comes to confrontations with bobcats, coyotes are usually victorious. Bobcats rarely kill coyotes, but coyotes kill bobcats. Whether single individual coyotes or groups run into a bobcat, the generally larger coyotes can kill the feline.
Bobcats killed by coyotes are usually smaller individuals (juveniles or females).
4. American Alligators
Alligators are huge reptiles and depending on their size they hunt in groups or solitarily. Alligators are deadly hunters, killing large animals like deer with relative ease. When they catch a smaller animal such as a bobcat, it’s almost impossible for it to get away. They live across the southeastern US and northeastern Mexico.
|Southeastern US, with a small population in Northeastern Mexico. Most live in Florida and Louisiana.
Smaller alligators tolerate living close to each other. Although they don’t hunt in packs, they do attack animals at the same time. Large alligators are solitary and defend their territory from others.
They live in most southeastern US states, although the large majority of their populations are found in Louisiana and Florida. There is a small population of alligators in Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Alligators kill anything they manage to ambush close to water. Large alligators are the apex predators in their environments.
They are even known to ambush other great hunters such as black bears and Florida panthers.
If even a smaller alligator catches a bobcat by the water, it’s unlikely that the feline will survive. Alligators are giants when compared to the medium-sized cat. They can easily kill bigger animals such as bears and mountain lions.
Fishers are small, weasel-like animals that live in Canada, the northeastern, and the western US. Despite their small size, fishers are aggressive, tough, and efficient predators. They kill animals that are much larger than themselves. This small carnivore is vicious and known to kill bobcats and lynxes.
|Forests of Canada, Northeastern and western US.
Fishers are small animals, about the size of domestic cats. They are generalists and will hunt almost anything available in their habitat.
Their size limits what they can hunt, and they don’t generally attack large animals like deer. They also eat carrion.
Their preferred prey is snowshoe hare and porcupine. Unlike most other predators, fishers hunt and kill porcupines. They kill the well-defended rodent by repeatedly biting its face in a 30-minute struggle.
Bobcats and lynxes frequently come into conflict with fishers. Male fishers are especially dangerous to lynxes, ambushing them in snowstorms.
Bobcats are the main predators of fishers, but they usually hunt females, which are half the size of males. Male fishers are more dangerous to bobcats and either one of them can win in a fight.
What Eats Baby Bobcats?
Baby bobcats are much more vulnerable to predation by other animals and are killed even by animals that don’t attack adult individuals. Besides the usual dangers presented by mountain lions and wolves, kittens have to worry about foxes and birds of prey.
While adult bobcats have predators, such as mountain lions and wolves, they are elusive animals that use stealth to avoid conflict. They rarely get themselves into situations to face other predators.
Bobcat kittens can’t hide and move constantly to stay safe. They fully depend on their mothers for protection and when she can’t provide that they are at risk.
Besides the usual predators, kittens can be killed by owls, eagles, foxes, and even other bobcats.
While bobcats are great predators in their own right, they are prey to others. Larger predators like mountain lions, alligators, wolves, and coyotes can kill bobcats when they get the chance. Smaller, vicious animals (like fishers) manage to kill bobcats sometimes.
Bobcat kittens are in even more danger of predation, being attacked by foxes and birds of prey too.