???? Bobcat vs. Mountain Lion: What is the difference between Bobcat and Mountain lion?

Discover the major difference between Bobcat and Mountain Lion, as well as their Similarities, Strengths and Weaknesses, and answer some FAQs
???? Bobcat vs Mountain Lion: 5 Key Differences, Pros & Cons

Both bobcat and mountain lion belong to the cat family but have many differences. Considering bobcat vs. mountain lion size, a mountain lion is about double the size of a bobcat. Additionally, bobcats have black spots or stripes on their fur while mountain lions do not have any of them.

Let’s take a closer look at the bobcat mountain lion:

SizeA mountain lion is bigger than a bobcat
WeightA mountain lion is much heavier than a bobcat
Spots or stripesBobcats have spots or stripes on their fur unlike mountain lions 
TailA mountain lion has a longer tail than that of a bobcat

What is a Bobcat?

A bobcat is a medium-sized cat growing up to 49 inches in length. Also known as red lynx, bobcats are native to North America. They have bobbed tails measuring anywhere between 3.5 to 7.9 inches with a noticeable black tip.

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What is a Mountain Lion?

A mountain lion is a large-sized cat growing up to 108 inches in length. Also known as cougars and puma, bobcats are native to the Americas. They have thick and cylindrical tails measuring anywhere between 25 to 37 inches. 

Mountain Lion vs. Bobcat Strengths and Weaknesses

Bobcat Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths of Bobcats 

  • Bobcats have sharp hearing power, a great sense of smell, and keen sight.
  • Bobcats are great climbers and can leap high enough from trees to catch the low-flying birds.

Weakness of Bobcats

  • They are weaker than animals like coyotes that have been their main predator pushing bobcats’ population to the endangered list. 
  • Bobcats are shy and thus refrain from hunting larger animals.
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Mountain Lion Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths of Mountain Lion

  • Mountain lions are great swimmers. 
  • Their length helps them leap as far as 20 feet and catch the prey off guard.
  • They have a strong jaw that can pierce through the shell of an adult tortoise.

Weakness of Mountain Lion

  • They have a poor sense of smell that fails them to sense the danger from afar. 
  • They live alone making them vulnerable to an attack by a pack of their biggest enemies i.e. gray wolves.

Bobcat and Mountain Lion Examples

Bobcat Examples

  • Mexican bobcat
  • Lynx rufus californicus

Mountain Lion Examples

  • Florida panthers
  • Eastern cougars

Mountain Lion or Bobcat Similarities Explained

  • Both bobcats and mountain lions are excellent swimmers.
  • Both of the felines are solitary animals. 
  • Both the animals are territorial and usually mark their territory well. 
  • Both cats are carnivores and prey on smaller creatures like squirrels, mice, rabbits.

5 Key Differences Between a Bobcat and a Mountain Lion You Must Consider

There are several differences between bobcats and mountains lions:

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BasisBobcatMountain Lion
DescriptionBobcat has an orangish fur coat with black spots or small stripes. Mountain lions have tanned orangish brown or yellowish-brown fur with no spots or stripes. 
SizeDepending on the type of subspecies, a bobcat can vary anywhere between 18 to 49 inches in length. Depending on the type of subspecies, the length of a mountain lion can vary anywhere between 59 to 108 inches.
WeightBobcats weigh around 15 pounds and can rarely be more than 30 pounds.Mountain lions are heavier and can weigh anywhere between 100 to 180 pounds.
TailThe tail is bobbed measuring anywhere between 3.5 to 7.9 inches with a noticeable black tip.The tail is thick and cylindrical and is as long as around 25 to 37 inches. 
Preys onBobcats prefer to prey on smaller creatures like chickens, rodents, or rabbits.They majorly eat deer. Their next favorite prey is bigger animals like coyotes or wild dogs.

Comparison Chart

Discover the major difference between Bobcat and Mountain Lion, as well as their Similarities, Strengths and Weaknesses, and answer some FAQs

Comparison Video

Big Cat Debate: Mountain Lion Or Bobcat?

Mountain Lion and Bobcat FAQ

Is a Mountain Lion the Same as a Bobcat?

No. A mountain lion is a big cat whereas a bobcat is a mid-sized wildcat. 

Will a Mountain Lion eat a Bobcat?

Yes, a bobcat is a potential meal for a mountain lion.

Who Would Win: Cougar vs. Bobcat?

Cougar aka mountain lion would anytime win the bobcat cougar fight. 

Is Bobcat Meat Good to Eat?

The meat of a bobcat has a dense and tender texture like that of lean pork. It is protein-rich and has low cholesterol. (Ref. 1) 

Do Mountain Lions bury their Food?

Yes. Mountain lions are known to bury aka ‘cache’ their food to prevent other predators from scavenging on the kill. 

Are Bobcats aggressive?

Bobcats are known to be solitary and extremely shy to approach humans. The only rare aggressive attack could be if they are rabid or senses a threat to their cubs. 

What will Attract a Bobcat?

Since bobcats are carnivores, good-smelling meat like that of a fish or a rabbit would attract them quickly. 

Is a Bobcat a Mountain Lion?

No. Even if we just consider mountain lion and bobcat size comparison, mountain lions are double the size of bobcats. 

What To Do If a Mountain Lion is Stalking You?

You must always make eye contact; sing, talk, or whistle to let them know that you aren’t their regular prey. (Ref. 2)

What To Do If You See a Bobcat in the Wild?

Bobcats would generally attack smaller prey. So, always keep your children and pets away when you see a bobcat. Never run away. 

The Final Words

Both bobcats and mountain lions are cat species but differ greatly in their appearance, size, and behavioral traits. The difference between bobcat and mountain lion can also be seen in their habitat. The habitat of bobcats ranges from Southern Canada to southern regions of North America to Mexico. On the other hand, mountain lions reside in North America, Central America, and South America. In a bobcat and mountain lion size comparison, the latter is much bigger. Considering bobcat vs. wildcat, both the terms are used for the same animal. On the contrary, mountain lions are popularly known as cougars.


  1. https://naturequestions.com/can-you-eat-bobcat/
  2. https://www.cougarfund.org/2015/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Cougar-Facts-Safety-Tips-revised-with-logo.pdf
Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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