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.
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:
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.
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.
Animal Tracks and Scat of California - Mark Elbroch
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.
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.