How to Identify
Bobcat Scat or Droppings

 

Bobcat scat with fur of prey. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.

Tracks next to it confirmed this as a fresh bobcat scat. This one lacks the segmented appearance that many bobcat droppings have. Not all scats are alike. They can vary in consistency and form depending on the diet of the bobcat. Individual animals never produce two scats that are exactly alike. This points out one of the difficulties with field guides. If you have only one drawing to compare to, it can be difficult to identify the scat you have found. You need to use other clues, such as habitat, where the scat was deposited, any nearby tracks, scrapes or lack of scrapes, etc.

   

This very fresh bobcat scat was found along a trail I followed where the bobcat had been dragging some prey. It stopped and deposited this scat in the trail without dropping the prey it held in its mouth. The prey was large because the legs dragged as the bobcat walked. It was a female bobcat and she eventually took the prey to her young. Not wanting to disturb the cubs, I broke off tracking the bobcat at the point where their tracks joined hers. They are sensitive and my arrival could have caused her to relocate the young ones. 

Bobcat scat dark with bloodmeal. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.
   
Bobcat scat and scrape. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.

This scat was deposited in some dusty sand at the edge of a dirt road in summer. Notice the bobcat tracks as well as the scrape mark. Bobcats do not always scrape next to their scats. They will also sometimes make scrapes without depositing scats near them.

   

I first discovered the scat above in the dark. I used my flashlight to illuminate the scat and fresh tracks to get the photo at right. Using a flashlight helps because you can control the angle and the source of the light. Because this photo was taken at night, it has a slight yellowish cast, caused by the flashlight color. This was a combination of flashlight and headlights.

Bobcat scat and scrape. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.
   
   
Bobcat scat and scrape. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.

The photo at left was the same scene, but take in daylight. Notice that the yellowish cast is gone, but the scrape mark isn't as prominent. If you can't control the light source, you just have to use what you find.

The bobcat did not attempt to cover the scat. The scrape was perhaps made to help spread the scent around. This is how some mammals communicate with each other. Scents are very important to wild mammals.

   

The photo at right was taken with flashlight alone. It was an LED light and provided a more white light source, so the photo lacks the yellowish tinge that the headlights caused. The scrape mark shows up better in this photo than the daylight photo above because I could manipulate the angle of the light and get the best angle for the photo.

Bobcat scat and scrape. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.
   
Bobcat scat. Photo copyright 2009 by Kim A. Cabrera.

Bobcat scat and tracks in dust.

   

This beautiful bobcat scrape was found at the top of a slope on a muddy dirt road. The bobcat used this location very likely because another old road joined the first at this point. Bobcats often deposit their scats at trail junctions. This is a behavior they share with other species, such as coyotes and foxes.

Bobcat scat and scrape in mud, with tracks.  Photo by Kim A. Cabrera.
   
   
fresh bobcat scat, or dropping, found at the edge of a dirt road. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera.

This fresh bobcat scat was found, along with some tracks, at the edge of a dirt road early one morning. It has a pointed tip, which is more typical of canine scats. However, this usually depends on which piece of scat leaves the animal's body last. The muscles can squeeze the tips into pointed shapes like this. The tracks next to it confirmed it as bobcat scat.

   
A fresh bobcat scat on some grass. There was a scrape next to this scat.

fresh bobcat scat

   
   
typical bobcat scat appearance

This is the "typical" appearance of bobcat scats in field guides. The classic segmented appearance with blunt ends. However, bobcats don't read the field guides. As you can see from all the scats above, this appearance is not really that typical. 

 
   

Location of the scat above. This placement in the center of trails or roads is common for bobcat. Other species do this as well. bobcats also have a tendency to place their scats at trail junctions.

placement of bobcat scat on dirt road
   
bobcat scat
Bobcat scat on a trail
 
 
bobcat scat with a large scrape
This bobcat scat has a large scrape next to it.
 
 
 
 
 

 

To see photos of bobcats, visit the Bobcat Photos Page or
the Bobcat Sighting Page.

For bobcat track photos, visit the Bobcat Track Photo Gallery:
  Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  | Page 4 | Page 5

Bobcat Scat Identification Pages:

Bobcat Scat Pg. 1 | Bobcat Scat Pg. 2 | Bobcat Scrapes

 

Copyright 2010, 2011, 2013 by Kim A. Cabrera

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Find bobcat tracks on many different products in my new store. Bobcat tracks on buttons, magnets, hats, t-shirts, calendars, greeting cards, journals, clocks, coffee mugs, and much more. Custom items are available at no extra charge by emailing me.

Visit Beartracker's Nature Store at: www.dirt-time.com  Happy tracking!!

What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's animal tracks coloring book, T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw  prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!

 

Find other tracking products: www.zazzle.com/tracker8459*

 

Also visit these fine stores for more products of interest:

NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.

ASL Signs of Love - For anyone who uses or is learning ASL, American Sign Language. Custom name items and more are available here.

Get Every Child Outdoors (Get E.C.O.) - My shop dedicated to nature and getting kids interested in nature and the outdoors.

Sales from all stores give commissions to Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den, which helps keep this site online as a free service. We are celebrating ten years online this year!

 

 

1

Bobcat Cat Track Keepsake Ornament

Bobcat Cat Track Keepsake Ornament

This ornament is perfect for any cat lover. Bobcats, cougars and domestic cats all have similar tracks, differing only in size. This ornament has a perfect cat track in the center. Sure to please.


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