Bobcats And Their Hearing (Questions & Answers)

Bobcats, also called red lynx, are elusive and nocturnal medium-sized cats native to North America. They have buff to brown fur, facial ruffs, and bobbed tails, from which their name was derived. 

But more than these characteristics, bobcats are also best known for their tufted ears, which are very important to the bobcat when hunting its prey. The bobcats’ hearing makes it quite unique, and we will take a closer look at that through this article.

Do Bobcats Have Good Hearing? 

Not only do bobcats have excellent vision, but they also have great hearing. Their large ears with tufts make their hearing excellent, especially when exposed to higher frequencies. 

While some scientists believe that bobcats and other lynxes use their ear tufts to detect things above their heads, there is also a wide consensus that these clusters of hair enhance bobcats’ hearing. And although there is little research about the hearing of bobcats, it is known that most of them can hear in the 65 to 70 kHz range, well beyond the human range of 15 to 20 kHz. 

Yes, you’re seeing that right, folks. Bobcats have a better sense of hearing than us. 

Can Bobcats Hear Prey From Far Away?

With their excellent hearing abilities, even at higher frequencies, bobcats can easily hear their prey from far away. Even just a small movement or noise from a small rodent in the undergrowth can attract the bobcat’s attention. 

This makes them good hunters, as bobcats combine their excellent sight and their keen sense of smell with their highly developed hearing to catch their prey. After hearing the prey, the bobcat dwells in the shadows, then surprises its prey in an ambush to catch them.

Are Bobcats Scared of Noise?

Since bobcats are elusive animals who are naturally shy of humans, any type of noise can easily scare them away. Usually, a loud noise, such as the banging of doors and pans, the sound of vehicles, clanking bells, or even an air horn is enough to drive bobcats away.

So, if you happen to encounter a bobcat, fret not because any type of noise you make can already scare them away.

Can You Repel Bobcats Using Sound?

Like what was previously mentioned, bobcats get easily scared of noises. Thus, if you happen to encounter them in your yard or in the woods, simply waving your arms and making any type of noise can easily scare them off.

You can also yell or speak, as the noise you produce helps bobcats identify that you are a human. That identification alone can already scare them away, being the reclusive animals that they are.

What Do the Ears of a Bobcat Look Like?

A bobcat’s ears are mainly characterized by a contrasting white spot at the back and a black tuft on the tip. These contrasting white spots create an illusion of false eyes, which the bobcat mainly uses to discourage and intimidate its enemies and scavengers. 

Like other cats, bobcats have cup-shaped ears with black tufts at their tips. In case you’re wondering, cat ear tufts, also called lynx tips, are fur that grows from the tip of a cat’s ear.

Further elaboration of its use will be discussed in the following sections.

Why Do Bobcats Have Tufts on Their Ears?

Bobcats’ tufts exist as a tool for communication, especially in the signaling process. During their interaction with other cats, the tufts are used for sending signals. Aside from this, bobcats’ tufts also keep dirt and debris out and help filter sound directly into their ears.

Through their tufts, bobcats also gain a tremendous advantage in hearing and noticing any signals around them. Their mobile tufted ears keep their acute hearing from being distracted by threats and prey.

How Do Bobcats Use Their Ears?

Bobcats use their ears by swiveling front to back. Through this motion, they can hear even the quietest sounds of their prey. 

Bobcats also use their ears to deceive humans or other creatures that are looking at them. Since the back of their ears is white, they look like faces, which can make one feel observed even when seeing the backside of the bobcat. And once you blink, the bobcats will be gone in an instant because they were facing the other direction the whole time. 

How Well Developed Is The Bobcat’s Hearing Compared To Other Animals?

The bobcat’s hearing is as developed as the hearing of other wildlife, including coyotes, mountain lions, house cats, and dogs. There are only a few differences, which we will explore in the following portion.  

The Bobcat’s vs. The Mountain Lion’s Hearing

Bobcats are known for both their excellent sense of smell and hearing. This makes them sensitive to even the faintest sounds in their environment. The same goes for mountain lions, although they have a relatively poorer sense of smell

In comparison, the mountain lion’s hearing is sharper than that of bobcats. They have extremely sensitive hearing, which is one of the mountain lions’ most important tools utilized during low-light hunting.  

The Bobcat’s vs. The Coyote’s Hearing

Coyotes can hear from 40 Hz up to 45,000 Hz. This means that they can hear well beyond humans when it comes to high-pitched sounds. However, a bobcat can hear up to 65,000 Hz, which means that they have sharper hearing than most coyotes

This advantage is said to be brought about by the bobcat’s cup-shaped ears, which funnel noise into the ear more efficiently.  

The Bobcat’s vs. The House Cat’s Hearing

Bobcats have ultra-sensitive hearing, even better than house cats. This ultra-sensitive hearing is crucial for them to survive in the wild. Comparing their hearing ranges, a house cat can only hear up to 60,000 Hz while bobcats can hear up to 65,000 Hz. House cats’ hearing is only slightly poorer compared to that of bobcats.

The Bobcat’s vs. The Dog’s Hearing

Bobcats, being the felines that they are, have considerably more sensitive hearing than that of dogs. While both can hear at ultrasound levels, dogs can only hear up to 44,000 Hz, a lot weaker than the 65,000 Hz that a bobcat can maximally hear.  

The Bobcat’s vs. Human Hearing

When comparing the hearing range of humans to animals, it is obvious that humans have a weaker sense of hearing.

A human’s hearing only ranges from 20 to 20,000 Hz, which when compared to animals, particularly to that of the 65,000 Hz of bobcats, is ultimately less sensitive. Yes, folks. Unfortunately, we can’t hear better than bobcats or other animals, but we sure can do something to help conserve them.

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