The lynx and bobcat are two medium-sized wild cats that inhabit North America. They look similar at first glance, with spotted fur and tufted ears, but have key differences that impact their hunting abilities and fighting tactics.

Settling the debate between lynx vs bobcat requires analyzing their size, speed, hunting strategies, and temperament to determine which feline would triumph in a face-off.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the lynx would likely defeat the bobcat due to its larger size, stronger bite force, and more aggressive temperament when threatened.

Size and Strength Comparison

The lynx is significantly larger

When it comes to size, the lynx has a clear advantage over the bobcat. On average, lynx measure around 3-4 feet in length and weigh 18-40 pounds. Comparatively, bobcats are much smaller at 2-3 feet long and only around 11-30 pounds.

The lynx’s larger size gives it greater strength and endurance in a fight.

The lynx also tends to be taller than the bobcat, with longer legs and bigger paws. Their larger paws work like snowshoes to help them traverse deep snow with ease. The bobcat’s smaller size makes it more nimble and agile, but the lynx’s superior size grants it the edge in tackling and pinning down prey.

Lynx have a stronger bite force

In addition to their size advantage, lynx also have a more powerful bite than bobcats. On average, a lynx has a bite force of about 400 pounds per square inch (PSI), while a bobcat’s bite force is around 310 PSI.

This means lynx can bite down with 30% more force, enabling them to make larger kills and defend themselves more effectively.

The lynx’s powerful jaws are a great asset in hunting and fighting. Their strong bite helps them take down large prey like deer, which are much bigger than the rabbits or hares that bobcats normally target. In battle, they can clamp down hard on a bobcat’s neck or body and inflict greater damage.

Here’s a comparison of lynx and bobcat size and strength:

Attribute Lynx Bobcat
Length 3-4 feet 2-3 feet
Weight 18-40 lbs 11-30 lbs
Bite Force 400 PSI 310 PSI

Hunting Abilities and Agility

Bobcats are more athletic and agile

When it comes to agility and athleticism, bobcats have the edge over lynx. Bobcats have excellent reflexes and can run up to 30 mph and leap up to 10 feet horizontally. This makes them incredibly nimble hunters that can chase down prey through dense thickets and rocky terrain with ease.

Their long back legs and large paws give them a “double spring” when pouncing on prey. Bobcats can also climb trees and swim if needed during a hunt. Overall, the bobcat is an incredibly well-adapted predator for hunting small game across a variety of North American habitats.

Lynx are specialized snow hunters

While perhaps not as nimble as the bobcat, the lynx excels as a specialist hunter in deep snowy conditions. Their huge paws, up to 4 inches across, help them stay on top of snow like natural snowshoes. This allows lynx to silently stalk hares and other prey even in loose, powdery snow.

A lynx’s hind legs are also longer than their front legs, giving them a “rocking chair” gait that is very efficient for traversing snowy landscapes while hunting. So while less agile overall, the lynx is superbly adapted as a winter predator.

Bobcats have a more varied diet

Due to their athleticism and ability to hunt in many habitats, bobcats have a much more varied diet than the lynx. Bobcats prey on over 100 species, including small mammals like squirrels, rabbits and mice, insects, birds and even young deer.

In contrast, the lynx relies almost exclusively on snowshoe hares. Up to 97% of the lynx’s winter diet can be snowshoe hare! While very well adapted for snow hunting hares, the lynx does not have as versatile of a diet as the bobcat.

This likely gives the bobcat better resilience in the face of disease or low prey populations.

Temperament and Aggression

Lynx are more likely to stand their ground

Lynx are solitary and territorial creatures that are not prone to backing down from a confrontation. If challenged or threatened, a lynx is likely to stand its ground and defend itself rather than flee. Lynx will aggressively protect their hunting grounds and any kittens against intruders.

Several factors contribute to the lynx’s boldness when faced with a threat:

  • Their large size and muscular build – Adult lynx can weigh up to 40 pounds, with powerful legs and sharp claws, making them formidable opponents in a fight.
  • Excellent hunting abilities – Lynx are ambush predators that successfully take down prey much larger than themselves, like deer and moose. This gives them confidence in their fighting skills.
  • Territoriality – Lynx fiercely defend the large territories they establish for hunting and breeding, and will not back down from intruders.
  • Solitary nature – Unlike social cats, lynx do not live in groups where retreating risks leaving offspring vulnerable. They can focus entirely on self-defense.

When threatened, a lynx typically first tries to intimidate its opponent by hissing, growling, and making itself look bigger. If this posturing does not scare off the threat, a lynx will attack with its claws and teeth, often targeting the face or throat.

Few animals are willing to risk injury to persist against an aggressive lynx.

Bobcats prefer to avoid confrontation

Bobcats are much more likely to flee from a threat than stand and fight. Their shy, elusive nature means they prefer to escape confrontation through stealth, speed, and agility.

Some key reasons bobcats avoid fights:

  • Smaller size – Bobcats weigh just 15-40 pounds on average, making them vulnerable against larger predators.
  • Greater reliance on ambush hunting – Bobcats are less likely to have confidence taking on opponents directly.
  • More social structure – Bobcats may retreat to protect kittens or avoid undermining social hierarchies.
  • Caution towards humans – Bobcats have learned to keep their distance from humans, dogs, and urban areas to stay safe.

Bobcats still defend themselves fiercely if cornered or defending offspring. A cornered bobcat will hiss, growl, spit, and swipe at its attacker with its claws. But the bobcat cannot sustain a prolonged fight, so it relies on delivering a swift, surprise counterattack, then retreating quickly.

Compared to lynx, bobcats are far less likely to persist in challenging a stronger opponent once a confrontation turns serious.


While the bobcat is a cunning and agile predator, the lynx’s larger size, strength, and temperament give it the edge in a hypothetical fight. The lynx’s ability to aggressively defend itself and take down large prey with its powerful bite makes it the likely victor against the smaller, more docile bobcat.

Overall, the evidence indicates the lynx would win out over the bobcat in a direct confrontation.

So in a battle between a lynx vs bobcat, bet on the feisty lynx to come out on top!

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