Bobcat Track
Photo Gallery

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The photographs below are some of the best bobcat track photos I've ever taken. These photos show good detail in the tracks. They are good for learning the characteristics of feline tracks because so many details are visible. Lots of photos, so give the page time to load.

If you want to go to the main bobcat page, here is the link: Bobcat Page

Perfect pair of bobcat tracks. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

This perfect pair of bobcat tracks was found in the mud along a river. The right front and right hind tracks are seen here. The hind foot has a smaller, narrower heel pad. (Also called plantar pad.) The offset toe that is furthest ahead will indicate which foot it is.

 
perfect bobcat track left front paw.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

Perfect tracks such as this are rare. You need soil conditions that are just right. This silty mud was a great substrate to hold this track. This is the left front track of a bobcat. The three lobes on the hind edge of the heel pad are visible. You can also see the two lobes on the leading edge of the heel pad. Four toes show up in the track, but no claw marks. The negative space between the heel pad and the toes is roughly C-shaped. The toes are asymmetrically aligned. These are all characteristics that identify this as a feline track. The size tells you it is a bobcat track. This track was about two inches long.

 
Comparison of bobcat and domestic cat tracks.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

A side-by-side comparison of a bobcat (left) and domestic cat (right) track. The scale is the same for both photos. This gives you some idea of the size of bobcat vs. domestic cat prints. The domestic cat track belongs to my cat, Boots, who often accompanies me on walks to the river. I think he thinks he's a dog!

 
View of bobcat and domestic cat tracks near each other.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

Another set of domestic cat and bobcat tracks for comparison. My cat, Boots, walked along the path the bobcat had taken, leaving some nice tracks to compare. The domestic cat track is on the left, with the label A. The pair of bobcats tracks is on the right with the label B.

 
Bobcat and domestic cat footprints for comparison.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

Bobcat and domestic cat tracks next to each other. Boots continued to follow the bobcat trail and, here, he stopped to investigate some interesting smells. The river had receded, leaving this nice mud. The bobcat couldn't go any further due to the high water and had to turn around at this point. Notice how the bobcat trail exits to the bottom of the photo. Before it changed direction, it rubbed on a log that was sticking out of the bank. Boots spent a very long time examining it, smelling it, and standing on his hind paws to get closer. Bobcat tracks are labeled B and domestic cat tracks are labeled A. The domestic cat tracks are roughly half the size of those of the bobcat.

 
Domestic cat investigating bobcat scent post.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

Here is Boots investigating the small log the bobcat rubbed on. The bobcat's tracks are seen approaching it on the left. Boots spent about ten minutes in his sniffing and investigation of this scent post. Scents are a  frequently-used communication method among wild species.

 
Bobcat and domestic dog tracks side by side.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2006.

Bobcats are not huge animals. In one study, the largest bobcat recorded weighed only 38.7 pounds. Most wild bobcats average about 20 pounds. In the photo above, a bobcat stepped next to the track of a domestic dog. The dog's track looks longer than it really is because the animal slipped in the mud, leaving a long trail behind the track. Notice the toe alignment in the dog track vs. the bobcat's. The shape of the negative space is also a helpful clue to identifying the tracks of the two species.

 
Bobcat track gait sequence.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.
Gait sequence of a bobcat. Each track is labeled. Right hind is RH, left front is LF, etc.
 
Heel or plantar pad of a bobcat foot.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

A close-up view of the heel pad of a bobcat track. This was the left front paw. As in domestic cat tracks, the outer lobe (L) is slightly larger than the inner one (R). If you have a pet cat, examine its feet sometime and you will see what this looks like.

 
TRacks of a bobcat investigating where a salmon had been.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

The disturbed area of mud above left is where a salmon carcass sat the day before this photo was taken. In an effort to get eagle tracks (unsuccessful), I had dragged a salmon carcass up from the river onto some clear mud. I knew the eagle was in the area and hoped it would land to feed on the fish. However, the carcass got carried off without so much as a footprint from the eagle! There were remains of a second fish carcass here and the bobcat appears to have scavenged from it. There was a jumble of bobcat tracks at the site. Best I could tell, the bobcat finished off what was left of the meat on the smaller fish. These are the tracks it left as it sniffed around, looking for tasty morsels. Since bobcats don't have humans who can buy them canned fish cat food, they get theirs the old fashioned way - directly at the river!

 
Left front paw print of a bobcat.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

The left front track of a bobcat. This is the left track because the left forward toe is the leading toe. The front track has a larger heel pad than on the hind track. The edges are straighter and the pad itself is wider. Look at the next few photos of left front feet to see these characteristics.

 
Left front track of a bobcat.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

The three lobes on the plantar pad are very clearly defined in this track. Notice that the leading toe is further ahead. If you look at your own hands, this toe would be equivalent to your middle finger. Bobcats also have five front toes. However, only four of those toes show up in their tracks. Where is the fifth toe? It is located up on the animal's "wrist" and rarely leaves an imprint. If you read the story of my cat, Bones, being chased by the bobcat, you probably saw the photo of a bobcat track with this fifth toe showing in it. Also on the main bobcat page, there is a photo showing all the toes on a feline. Cats walk on their "toes," which is called digitigrade. Animals, such as humans and bears walk plantigrade - flat footed.

 
Bobcat left front footprint.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

How many feline characteristics can you pick out in this track? If you found this track in the field, could you tell if it was left or right? How would you identify this? The purpose of this page is to help you learn how to do this.

 
Beautiful left front track of a bobcat.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

Beautiful left front bobcat track. When photographing tracks, always include a scale. It can be a ruler or common object of known size. I frequently use pennies when I forget to bring along the ruler. However, the ruler is a better device to use. Pennies are not familiar to everyone in an international audience.

 
DEtail left front track of a bobcat.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

This left front bobcat track has a small hole in the center. This hole was there before the bobcat made the track. A sandpiper had been here and probed the mud with its beak. Its tracks are not visible in this photo. This photo does show nice definition in the lobes of the heel pad though.

 
Bobcat left hind track showing rare claw marks.  Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

This left front bobcat track shows claws. Claw marks are fairly rare in feline tracks. Even in deep mud like this, you don't often find them. The alignment of the leading toes tells you this is a feline rather than a canine track. The C-shaped negative space is also a feline characteristic. Dogs have an X-shaped negative space. Notice that the heel pad on this hind foot is smaller and less bulky than that of the front tracks seen above. This is how you tell from from hind tracks. At times, it can be difficult. When you run into that, examine more than one track. If you can identify a sequence of tracks, you will be able to pick out which are front or hind, and left or right. For this reason, trackers do not like to make "single track identifications." If you cannot examine a line of tracks, you can make errors. Animals don't always leave textbook-perfect tracks. They don't read the books!

Bobcat Track Photo Gallery

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Page updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013.

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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.