Colorado Resident Spots Big Cat in Yard: Is It a Bobcat or a Lynx?
If you know me, you know that I'm a huge fan of the Nextdoor app. It's a great way to keep up with neighborhood happenings, safety, and drama (don't judge me).
As I was scrolling through the app the other day, I came across this post from Fort Collins:
Commenters were quick to point out that the cat was likely not a lynx, but a bobcat, as lynx are rare in Northern Colorado. But how can you spot the difference between these two big cats?
How to Identify a Lynx in Colorado
Colorado's lynx population has increased since the animal's reintroduction to the Centennial State in 1999. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), lynx primarily live in subalpine forests in the San Juan Mountains — this, coupled with the animal's elusive nature, means you're not likely to see one in Northern Colorado.
Still, lynx occasionally stray from their usual habitat. In February, someone saw one playing in the snow near Silverton.
To identify a lynx, CPW says you can look at five characteristics: foot size, tail, collars, coloring, and tracks.
Lynx have big feet that appear disproportional to their bodies and produce large tracks (around 5 inches across). The tips of their tails are completely black, and their coats are usually free of significant spots and stripes.
You can also recognize a lynx by its collar, which features a long radio antenna.
How to Identify a Bobcat in Colorado
According to CPW, bobcats thrive in foothills and canyons — including the ones in Northern Colorado. Like the lynx, the animals tend to avoid humans, but CBS4 reports that they will venture into cities to find food.
Unlike the lynx, CPW says bobcats have smaller feet that appear proportional to their bodies and produce smaller tracks (around 3 inches across). The tips of their tails are black but have a white underside that distinguishes them from the lynx.
The bobcat's tail is also often longer than the lynx's tail, and their coats usually have noticeable spots and stripes.
Lynx and bobcats aren't the only animals in Colorado to be on the lookout for. Check out the most dangerous animals in the Centennial State in the gallery below.