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Wildlife Spotlight: Bobcats


​If you’ve enjoyed a hike or bike ride through any of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, there’s a good chance you’ve traced the same path as a bobcat! Named for their short tails, these medium-sized felines are also recognized by their spotted coats and distinctive, black-tipped ears. They are a vital part of the local food chain, primarily hunting birds and small mammals like mice, rabbits and squirrels.


​Bobcats are solitary animals, and are rarely seen in groups. Like many other wild cats, they are territorial, and tend to claim their own areas that are typically between 1.5 and 3 square miles. Though they exist in strong numbers in the Landmarks, they are nocturnal, and are likely to be tucked away in their dens while most visitors are out on the Landmarks during the day. If you do happen to spot a bobcat on the lands, stay calm, don’t turn your back, and be careful to keep a safe distance. By respecting access and program times humans can ensure minimized contact with bobcats and other large mammals who call the Landmarks home.

While bobcats are elusive in person, they make regular appearances on the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s wildlife monitoring cameras, where they can be seen walking, hunting, and occasionally eating their prey. This is the ideal arrangement for bobcat viewing: the animal is observed and admired from a distance, and is free to roam without worry.