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Bobcat Tracks: Determining
Male versus Female

By Jason Knight

Bobcat tracks often display characteristics that allow one to determine the gender of the animal that passed by. Specific morphological features (shapes within the track) point to male versus female. Oftentimes these are relative differences that are easier to observe once you have seen many sets of bobcat footprints.

Bobcat Tracks: Male versus Female Morphology

bobcat tracks photo

The above photo shows male bobcat footprints on the left and female tracks on the right. For both individuals the front foot is at the bottom and the hind is at the top of the screen. The photo clearly demonstrates some of the key morphological differences to look for in male versus female tracks. The characteristics to look for are:



male bobcat track photo

Male Bobcat:

  • Relatively larger and rounder track than tracks of a female bobcat
  • Heel pad is larger overall, and is wider at the top edge
  • Toes are more robust and rounder than the toes of a female bobcat
  • There is less negative space between the heel pad and toes



female bobcat track photo

Female Bobcat:

  • Relatively smaller and more oval-shaped track than male tracks
  • Heel pad is smaller overall, and is narrower at the top edge
  • Toes are smaller and narrower, also more oval-shaped
  • There is more negative space between the heel pad and toes



Determining gender from tracks can be difficult. Again it relies on relative, subtle differences that often depend on the observer's experience of seeing many sets of bobcat footprints. Regardless, in the cat family, these differences can be recognized and learned.

bobcat tracks photo


Here's another photo of a bobcat footprint. Try and figure out if it is male or female. You can email us your answer. Also, if the reader knows of other characteristics to look for in determining gender, the author would like to know. You can email us through the contact form.

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Additional Resources:

Animal Tracks and Scat of California - Mark Elbroch

Bobcats - Bear Tracker's Pages


Related Courses:

Wildlife Tracking Courses

By the way, when you're out tracking or looking for wild animals, it's important to know how to stay safe in the outdoors, especially if you were to get lost. Right now you can get a free copy of our mini survival guide here, where you'll discover six key strategies for outdoor emergencies, plus often-overlooked survival tips.


bobcat tracking photo


About the Author: Jason Knight is a cofounder of Alderleaf Wilderness College and the author of The Essential Skills of Wilderness Survival. He has been teaching wilderness skills for over twenty years. Learn more about Jason Knight.



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