Difference between a Mountain Lion and a Bobcat
By Rachel Jones - July 23, 2023

The Bobcat and Mountain Lion or cougar are two distinct predatory species in the Americas. However, their natural geographic ranges align significantly. There are several more variations between these two wild cats, including physical characteristics and behavior.


The Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) is North America’s second biggest cat species. It has a spotted face and ear, a greyish brown or reddish coat, and a black tail. Mountain lions are nocturnal and live in rocky terrains with plenty of flora. Mountain lions are solitary creatures, except for a mom and her cubs or a mating group. After three months, the mother female will give birth to three to four cubs. The cubs have spotted coats and are born blind and deaf.

The bobcat (Lynx rufus), often known as the red lynx, is a North American medium-sized cat. Bobcats have tufted ears and a small bobtail around five inches long. The bobcat is a hardy species. It favors deciduous, coniferous, or mixed forests but does not rely only on the deep woods. Bobcats are classified into 13 subspecies.

Mountain Lion vs. Bobcat

Mountain lions have a long tail (2.5-3 feet), whereas bobcats have a small tail (less than 10 inches). Mountain lions may grow 7-9 feet long, while bobcats are just 3 feet long. Mountain lions weigh between 90 and 160 pounds, whereas bobcats range between 20 and 30 pounds. Mountain lions are more uniformly brown and tawny in appearance, whereas bobcats are deeper brown with lighter belly fur and patches. Bobcats have tufts on their ears and cheeks, which are difficult to discern from a distance.

Comparison Chart
  1. A uniformly tawny brown coat that one can spot in cubs
Light brown belly fur and Deep brown body coat are spotted all through life
  1. Adapted to rough terrains
Adapted to all terrains and is a good tree climber
  1. Long tail and body
Very short ‘bobtail’ and body with tufted ears