Patterns in bobcat (Lynx rufus) scent marking and communication behaviors

Maximilian L. Allen, Cody F. Wallace, Christopher C. Wilmers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intraspecific communication by solitary felids is not well understood, but it is necessary for mate selection and to maintain social organization. We used motion-triggered video cameras to study the use of communication behaviors in bobcats (Lynx rufus), including scraping, urine spraying, and olfactory investigation. We found that olfactory investigation was more commonly used than any other behavior and that—contrary to previous research—scraping was not used more often than urine spraying. We also recorded the use of cryptic behaviors, including body rubbing, claw marking, flehmen response, and vocalizations. Visitation was most frequent during January, presumably at the peak of courtship and mating, and visitation become more nocturnal during winter and spring. Our results add to the current knowledge of bobcat communication behaviors, and suggest that further study could enhance our understanding of how communication is used to maintain social organization. Videos relating to the behaviors in this article are available at:,,,,, and

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ethology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • Bobcat
  • Communication
  • Lynx rufus
  • Scent marking
  • Scraping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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