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Bobcat vs. Lynx: What Is the Difference? (8 Differences)

The main difference between bobcats and lynxes is their size. Bobcats are smaller than lynxes, measuring about 18 inches in height, while lynxes measure 21 to 25 inches. While they are not the same animal, bobcats and lynxes are closely related.

Bobcats and lynxes are efficient predators. They look similar and occupy the same ecological niche in their respective environments. 

It can be hard to tell the difference between them, but they do have certain traits that set them apart.

In this article, you will learn how to tell bobcats and lynxes apart, which one is stronger and more.

Bobcat vs. Lynx: An Overview

Bobcats and lynxes are similar animals. They behave in much the same way and look alike. While they are closely related, they are not the same species and do have some differences.

At a first glance, it’s easy to mistake bobcats and lynxes for one another as they are similar. The differences between the two are much smaller than between a bobcat and a mountain lion.

Here’s a quick comparison of bobcats and lynxes:

TraitBobcatCanada LynxIberian LynxEurasian Lynx
Height18 inches21 inches25 inches26 inches
Lenght33 inches36 inches38 inches40 inches
Weight21 pounds25 pounds25 pounds36 pounds
HabitatSouthern Canada to Southern MexicoBoreal forests of North America.
Northern US and Canada
Southern Spain and PortugalSpread from Western Europe to far Eastern Siberia
Lifespan7-10 years8-12 years7-13 years8-13

Both bobcats and lynxes can live longer, but they usually don’t in the wild. The oldest wild Eurasian Lynx was 17 years old.

Bobcat vs. Lynx An Overview

Bobcat vs. Lynx Differences

The main differences between bobcats and lynx are their size, paws, and markings. Bobcats are smaller and are recognized by their furless paws and prominent dark stripes on the legs.

While bobcats and lynxes are similar, they do have differences. They are easy to spot if you know what to look for. 

Here are the main differences:

  • Lynxes are generally larger, although Canada Lynx is closer to the bobcat.
  • The soles of bobcats’ paws are bare but lynxes have fur on their soles.
  • Bobcats appear stockier, and lynxes have longer legs.
  • Lynxes have longer ear tufts than bobcats.

Besides these prominent differences, there are also a few that are harder to spot:

  • Bobcats have more and darker markings, such as spots and stripes.
  • Bobcats generally have shorter fur.
  • Bobcats don’t look quite as “wild” as lynxes. They resemble domestic cats slightly more.
  • Bobcats’ tails have distinct black stripes on the top, including the tip, and are white on the bottom. Lynxes lack the stripes and have a bigger completely black tip of the tail.
Bobcat vs. Lynx Differences

Bobcat vs. Lynx Similarities

Bobcats and lynxes are close relatives and have many similarities. They have the same overall appearance with a “bobbed”, short and stubby tail, and fur tufts on the tip of the ears. They also hunt for similar animals such as small mammals and birds.

Bobcats and lynxes are closely related. They are related at the genus level, which means they are genetically close to one another. 

Below is a brief overview of their taxonomy and classification.

ClassificationBobcatCanada LynxIberian LynxEurasian lynx
SpeciesLynx rufusLynx canadensisLynx pardinusLynx lynx
Bobcat vs. Lynx Similarities

This close relation explains their similarities in behavior and appearance.

Here are their physical appearance similarities:

  • They have fur tufts on the ears and cheeks.
  • Their tails are short and stubby.
  • They are medium-sized felines.

Their behavior is also alike:

How to Tell the Difference Between Bobcats and Lynxes

Telling the difference between bobcats and lynxes is not easy. Their habitat is the easiest way to initially tell them apart. Bobcats live all across North America while Lynxes prefer forested environments. Bobcats are also smaller than lynx and have more defined spots and stripes.

Bobcats and lynxes are hard to distinguish at a first glance. They are alike in overall appearance, making it difficult to tell them apart from afar.

But, you can generally tell what animal it is by the habitat. The only type of lynx that shares ranges with bobcats is the Canada lynx. 

A good method to differentiate between them is by looking at the environment around them. Canada lynxes roam the boreal forests of North America and only meet bobcats in the northern US and southern Canada.

For ranges where both bobcats and Canada lynxes live, the best way to tell them apart is their size and markings. Bobcats are generally smaller and have darker spots and stripes.

The tails, while similar, have some crucial differences. Bobcats’ tails have black stripes and a black tip on the top half, while the bottom half is white. 

By comparison, lynxes’ tails lack stripes and the tips are black all around.

Another difference that would clear up any doubt is the soles of their paws. Bobcats have bare soles while lynxes have fur on them as an adaptation to snowy environments. This is hard to see from afar. [1]

How to Tell the Difference Between Bobcats and Lynxes

Do Bobcats And Lynxes Ever Meet?

Yes, bobcats and lynxes do meet on rare occasions. Bobcats can only meet one species of lynx in the wild: the Canada lynx. They share territory in the Northern US and Southern Canada and can run into each other there. They both avoid contact with other animals so it’s uncommon for them to meet.

In the wild, the only lynx a bobcat can meet is a Canada lynx. The Iberian and Eurasian lynxes are not naturally found in North America.

Both bobcats and lynxes are shy and elusive animals, so they avoid unnecessary contact whenever they can. They will stay out of each other’s way as each bobcat and lynx has their home ranges which the others respect.

Bobcat vs. Canada Lynx: Common Ground

Both bobcats and Canada lynxes live in North America. While bobcats are highly adaptable and live in a variety of environments, lynxes stick to boreal forests. Bobcats live everywhere from deserts to swamps.

The only regions where they can regularly meet are the Northern US states and Southern Canada. 

In these regions, they share spruce and pine forests and run into each other on occasion.

Bobcat vs. Canada Lynx Common Ground

Bobcat vs. Lynx: Who Would Win?

Lynxes would generally win in a fight with bobcats, but it does depend on the lynx species. The Eurasian Lynx is larger and stronger than bobcats and will win without much trouble. The Canada Lynx, which is closer in size to bobcats, could lose to a bobcat.

Lynxes are generally larger than bobcats. This means they are also stronger and can more often than not win against bobcats. 

A bobcat wouldn’t have much of a fighting chance against the much larger Eurasian lynx.

Against Canada lynxes, bobcats have better odds. They are similar in size, although lynxes are still a bit larger.

Bobcats are naturally more aggressive than lynxes though. They are considered stronger pound for pound, even though they are smaller than lynxes.

In Maine, the weasel-like fisher regularly preys on lynx, but not on the smaller bobcat. Bobcats are one of the main predators of fishers, putting up more of a fight than their larger cousins.[2]

Bobcats vs. Lynxes: Endangerment Status

Bobcats are categorized as “least concern” by the IUCN Redlist, but lynxes, especially the Iberian lynx, are endangered. Bobcats are versatile and adaptable, and their larger cousins suffer more as a result of human activity and change.

Bobcat Status

Dangerous Bobcats

Bobcats are not endangered. They are considered a species of least concern. Bobcats are adaptable and can easily switch their diet according to the prey in their environment. 

This gives them an advantage over the lynxes, which are more specialized, and prefer hunting hare regardless of availability.[3]

Canada Lynx Status

Canada Lynx Status

Canada lynx is considered a threatened species, both in the US and Canada. It’s specialized in hunting snowshoe prey, unlike the more adaptable diet of the bobcat

The more isolated populations in the US are at a higher risk of disappearance than the ones in the larger Canadian range.[4]

Eurasian Lynx Status

Eurasian Lynx Status

The Eurasian Lynx is not in too bad of a situation. It’s considered a species of least concern overall but in some regions, it’s still close to extinction. It is spread across Siberia and the more mountainous regions of Asia.

In Europe, it has stable populations in Scandinavia, the Carpathian Mountains, and the Balkans. The lynx is slowly recovering in the rest of Europe, having been reintroduced to some of its historic ranges.

Iberian Lynx Status

Iberian Lynx Status

The Iberian Lynx is one of the most endangered felines in the world. It lost 90% of its habitat between 1985 and 2001 and is still critically endangered today. In 2019 there were only 400 estimated individuals in the wild.[5]

Can Bobcats and Lynxes Mate?

Yes, bobcats and lynxes can mate. They naturally mate sometimes and produce healthy offspring called Blynxes or Lynxcats. Mating only happens between bobcats and Canada lynxes, and is considered a good thing for the endangered lynx.

Hybrids between bobcats and lynxes occur both naturally and in captivity. The offspring of bobcats and lynxes are called blynxes or lynxcats. 

The hybrid offspring are healthy and fertile and can help the threatened Canada Lynx survive. 

Mating between Canada lynxes and bobcats has been recorded in the Northern US and Canada.[6]

The Hybrid of a Canada lynx and a bobcat is closer in size to the bobcat. It has a bobcat’s characteristic smaller paws but shares the long ear tufts and fur patterns of the lynx.


Bobcats and lynxes are close relatives, but not the same species. Bobcats are the more versatile animal and can adapt easier to changes in their environment. Even though it’s smaller the bobcat can put up a better fight than the Canada lynx, thanks in part to its ferocity. 

In a direct confrontation with the much larger Eurasian lynx, the bobcat will lose.


Is a Bobcat Stronger Than a Canada Lynx?

Canada Lynxes are stronger than bobcats overall as they are bigger than bobcats. But, bobcats are stronger pound for pound than the Canada Lynx.

How Can You Tell Bobcat Tracks Apart From Lynx Tracks?

Lynx tracks are larger and comparable to a mountain lion’s, thanks to their big, snowshoe paws. It’s also more likely to find lynx tracks in the deep snow.

About Codrin Frunzete

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