October 9, 2012
Today’s post got an assist from 5-year-old Landen, who when I showed him this photo of a ‘bobcat’. After a careful look, he told me “Nope, that’s a lynx.” When I asked how he was so sure, he pointed out the prominent black ear tufts. Sure enough, as How Stuff Works explains on What’s the difference between a bobcat and a lynx? the ears are a big clue:
To begin with, the bobcat looks a bit more like an overgrown house cat than a lynx does. With extra-long tufts of fur on its ears and a shaggy mane of fur around its cheeks, the lynx takes on an otherworldly appearance. The long black ear tufts, which can grow to be almost an inch (2.5 centimeters) long, act as excellent hearing aids, enabling the agile cat to pick up on the soft footsteps of its prey.
A lynx also has larger feet and longer legs than a bobcat to help it navigate the deep snow common in its range. Its big, furry paws act like snowshoes to help this feline chase down food in the winter.
I couldn’t tell whether or not this is a lynx or bobcat, but it’s an interesting bit of knowledge. It’s pretty certain it’s a bobcat as the pic was taken near Howell, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service endangered species list for Michigan lists counties with the highest potential for Lynx presence as all UP counties: Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft.