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Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Managed Care

This section describes general husbandry/care aspects for lynxes, including bobcat and Canada lynx, at the San Diego Zoo (Nicki Boyd, personal communication, 2020).


  • Similar to wild habitats in southern California
    • Rocky outcrops
    • Horizontal tree trunks and logs
    • High perches to look out from
    • Low caves for hiding
  • Mix of indoor and outdoor spaces
    • Bedding, such as hay
  • Shade for cooling
    • Mist, snow, and ice provided during warm months
  • Heat elements available for warming
    • Not usually needed in San Diego


  • Wet beef mix
  • Previously frozen small mammals, such as rabbits and mice
  • Bones
  • Occasionally, fish or egg
  • Whole prey often fed
    • Provides complete nutritional profile (i.e., essential proteins, vitamins, minerals)

Enrichment and training

  • Environmental experiences
    • Scratch claws on wood or other material
    • Search and climb to access hanging food
    • Dig up partially buried food (e.g., from under soil)
    • Hunt live fish in river bed model
    • Drink water from drip source (rather than pool)
    • Lick food frozen in ice
    • Rotation of habitat areas (New Children’s Zoo)
  • Diversity in meal quantity and frequency
    • Offered multiple small meals in a day vs. single large meal over a couple of days
    • Reflects natural variations in prey availability
  • Olfactory stimulation
    • Provided object that a rodent (potential prey) once lived in or rubbed by another carnivore (potential competitor)
  • Walks
    • Ambassador Animals only

Made in the Shade

At the San Diego Zoo, bobcats are offered shade, mist, and ice to keep cool during the summer.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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