Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Bobcat - Lynx rufus
Felidae Members:
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Photo by: Mark Shields
Distribution It occurs statewide in NC, likely in all 100 counties.

Occurs almost throughout the lower 48 states and extreme southern Canada, far southward into the tropics; it is absent in some Midwestern and Great Lakes areas.
Abundance Because the species is primarily nocturnal and is secretive, abundance is mostly based on tracks. Apparently fairly common in the mountains, generally uncommon in the Piedmont, uncommon to fairly common in the western Coastal Plain, and fairly common in the eastern Coastal Plain. It likely is most numerous on the Pamlimarle Peninsula and in the Dismal Swamp area, whereas it might be rare in parts of the west-central portion of the Piedmont. Note that the iNaturalist website contains photos for more than a third of the state's counties, and the editors have not taken the time to update the map with "Photo" records/documentation unless the county had previously no known records (white on the map). The species could easily be State Ranked as S5 instead of S4, as it is clearly not of conservation concern and is very widespread, though thinly populated, across the state.
Seasonal Occurrence Occurs year-round.
Habitat Mainly in extensive forested habitats, both in lowlands and in uplands. Some edges and fields can be present, but the majority of the home range lies in forests, well away from man. However, they often forage in fields and brushy areas at night.
See also Habitat Account for General Sparsely Settled Mixed Habitats
Behavior Primarily nocturnal, but not unusual to see them about in twilight or very late afternoon, rarely during daylight. They tend to be quite secretive and shy, though at times can be seen walking along roads and wide trails, seemingly paying little attention to an observer. Even so, they tend to stay away from civilization, and are not often seen in residential areas.
Comments Numbers of Bobcats in the state seem to be holding up into the recent decades, despite the greatly increasing human population. They obviously are adaptable in their habitats, though still stay away from civilization, for the most part.
Origin Native
NC List Official
State Rank S4 [S5]
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
subspecies Lynx rufus rufus, Lynx rufus floridanus

Lynx r. rufus occurs over the mountains and Piedmont, whereas L. r. floridanus occurs essentially throughout the Coastal Plain.
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all database records for species in that county.