Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.
When most people think of big cats, they usually think of lions and tigers.
However, there are other big cats in the world, including cougars and mountain lions.
Then there are bobcats, which are the smallest members of the big cat family.
So what’s the difference when comparing bobcat vs mountain lion?
Let’s take a closer look.
What is a bobcat?
This is a type of wild cat. It can be brown or gray.
There are lots of different kinds of them and they live in many different places.
It can be found in suburban areas, forests, swamps, and deserts.
They are mostly found in Mexico, Canada, and the south part of North America.
The length of this animal is often around 2-4 feet.
They weigh between 11 and 35 pounds. Bobcats have a brown/grey coat that is short and often tufted.
Their eyes are often yellow.
And they often have wide-looking faces thanks to their hair.
Bobcats also have a black and chubby tail and stripes of black color on their forward legs.
Bobcats are wild cats that are active during the night.
They live alone and territories can be large.
When they mate, it is during the winter to springtime.
The gestation period lasts around 1.5-2 months.
The females often raise their young cubs in hidden burrows where they feel safe and protected.
Bobcats are a smaller type of wild cat, but they are very aggressive.
They eat insects, birds, mice, geese, chickens, squirrels, and rabbits.
They are often threatened by coyotes and other bigger predators that live in the same territory.
The bobcat’s life span is about 10 to 12 years on average.
Bobcat strengths & weaknesses
Bobcats are very good at smelling, seeing, and hearing.
They can also climb trees to catch the birds that fly low.
One of their weaknesses is that they are pretty small and weak compared to other wild predators.
That’s why they often shy away from larger animals and be active mostly during the night.
What is a mountain lion?
This is a big cat that has many names, but the most popular are cougar, panther, puma, or catamount.
It is also called Puma concolor scientifically.
Scientists classified about 32 sub-species of this animal and they usually are found in suburban or wooded areas and in some rocky or half-desert areas too.
They are found across the United States and mostly in Florida.
Mountain lion size
The mountain lion size is bigger.
A mountain lion can grow to 6 feet in length and up to 187 pounds in weight.
This animal is slender and round-headed with long erect ears.
The tail is long and cylindrical with a dark tip.
The fur of this beast is usually yellow-brown or orange-brown in color.
Mountain lion sounds
A mountain lion often makes sounds like a baby crying, whistling, chirping, and screaming.
Mountain lion sounds help them communicate with other mountain lions.
Mountain lion makes these sounds by opening their mouths and moving their tongues.
Mountain lion tracks
Mountain lion tracks can be very large, up to 5 inches wide.
A mountain lion can have very large feet, which help it run quickly and jump great distances.
They usually hunt at night, so their tracks may be hard to see in the daylight.
If you find tracks that you think might be from a mountain lion, it is best to stay away and notify the authorities.
These beasts often live by themselves and only come out at night.
They are very territorial with no set mating season.
Their gestation period can last 3 months. Sometimes, they mate in a group.
The females will actively take care of their babies and are super protective.
Mountain lions eat meat, both when they’re hunting and when they’re eating what they already caught to eat later.
They use stealth when catching their prey.
And they often use their strength when fighting for food or territory with other animals
Mountain lion is formidable hunters.
They are able to jump 20 feet, which is very high.
They often eat porcupines, coyotes, jackrabbits, raccoons, and squirrels.
The population of these beasts is sustainable and there is no problem with hunting them for sports.
Their lifespan is often about 8 to 13 years in the wild.
Strengths & weaknesses
Mountain lions’ first strength is that they can swim well.
The length of their body helps them leap as far as 20 feet away and catch the prey unnoticed.
Their strong jaws can pierce through the shell of a tortoise with ease.
The mountain lion is not very good at smelling.
It makes them vulnerable to swift attacks by their natural enemies which are the gray wolves.
Bobcat vs mountain lion – Quick summary of the key differences
|Difference in Appearance||Bobcat has a coat that is orange with black spots or stripes.||Mountain lions have fur that is tanned. It can be orangeish-brown or yellowish-brown and has no stripes/spots.|
|Difference in Size||A grown-up bobcat can be anywhere from 18 to 49 inches in length.||A grown-up mountain lion can be between 59 to 108 inches in length.|
|Difference in Weight||Usually between 15 to 30 pounds.||Mountain lion weighs between 100 to 180 pounds (adult ones).|
|Difference in Tail length||Bobcat tail is usually from 3.5 to 7.9 inches.||Mountain lion tail is usually from 25 to 37 inches.|
|Difference in Preys||Chickens, rabbits, mice, and other small animals including small pets.||Bigger animals|
Are they dangerous or not?
Both bobcats and mountain lions are wild animals.
They eat animals like rabbits. But they can also be dangerous to house pets or people, so it’s best to stay away from them.
However, if you put these two in a fight, it is more likely that the mountain lion will win because of its size and power.
If there is a bobcat or mountain lion in your area, be careful.
Do not walk towards them.
If they hear noise, they will see you as food or a threat.
Both bobcats and mountain lions often make cat-like noises.
Sometimes they will hiss, sometimes they will growl, and sometimes they will screech.
And the sound of a baby crying is also a very popular one you will hear from these two wild cats.
Fact is, you will see bobcats more often than you can see mountain lions in your living areas.
Bobcats are more likely to venture into urban areas because they have more habitats and they can adapt.
A mountain lion, on the other hand, doesn’t want to go into towns because of people who might hurt them.
How do they hunt?
These two types of wild cats hunt by preying in the forest or climbing trees.
They will kill their prey with their razor-sharp teeth and strong jaws.
Bobcats don’t usually go after larger animals because they are too fast and too big to catch.
But mountain lions can, and they often hunt bigger animals for their meals.
How do they breed?
These two animals have almost the same breeding activities.
They mate during the same period which is from December all the way to February.
During the whole season, they will carry their cubs to find food.
The gestation period of both female mountain lions and bobcats is between 60-63 days.
And they often give birth to 1-2 cubs at a time.
Their youngsters are very small when they are born, weighing only 1lb each.
The female will keep her young with her for 8 months, but the male will be near for up to two years to teach the youngsters how to hunt.
The kittens can walk at four weeks old and start running at eight weeks old.
What are their predators?
Both are mostly hunted by humans. Another threat is cars.
And since bobcats are the smaller ones, they also are preyed upon by bigger predators such as wolves and mountain lions.
Which is worse?
Mountain lion is more likely to be dangerous than bobcats mostly due to their sizes.
Bobcats eat smaller animals like rats and rabbits, while mountain lions eat big animals like elk and sheep.
So, that explains a bit here.
Can a bobcat win in a fight between the two?
First of all, the mountain lion is slower than the bobcat, but it has a much more powerful bite, and it’s bigger, too.
The two also look different.
The mountain lion looks like a female African lion, just smaller.
Meanwhile, the bobcat looks like what you might find in your home but not something you want to pet. (source)
Can bobcats eat mountain lions?
No, the reverse is true, actually.
A mountain lion will often try to hunt down bobcats if they can.
In their natural living conditions, mountain lions are usually beaten by wolves because wolves hunt in packs and outnumber the mountain lion that often goes solo. (source)
Do they look the same?
No, bobcats do not look like mountain lions.
Bobcats often have black spots and orange fur.
Mountain lion is tan in color and has a uniform coloration.
Is a cougar a bobcat?
No, a cougar is not a bobcat.
Cougar’s size is up to 6 feet long and weighs over 180 pounds.
Bobcats are 2-3.5 feet long and weigh about 40 pounds.
How do you quickly tell the difference between the two?
A quick way is to look at the tail.
Bobcats don’t have long tails, while cougars do have long tails.
Cougars are brown on their bellies and some spots on their backs.
Hi, my name is John, and I’m an animal lover. I’ve been fascinated with the animal kingdom since I was 5 years old, and my passion keeps growing bigger as I age. And this blog is where I share my researches and passion with animal lovers all around the world.