An Evaluation Of Several Techniques For Determining The Age Of Bobcats (Lynx Rufus) In The Southeast

A total of 57 of 75 bobcats (Lynx rufus) available were utilized in an evaluation for determining age in this species. Pelage characteristics, body measurements, frozen eye lens weight, and epiphyseal closure of the forelegs and humeri were of little value in determining age. Skull measurements were used in determining three age classes: (1) kittens (0-12 months); (2) young adults (13-24 months); and (3) adults (over 25 months). Skull morphology was also useful in defining these classes. The number of cementum annuli in the upper canine was correlated with age and allowed a more accurate age to be assigned to each animal than the other methods evaluated. Comparing the cementum annuli with the skull measurements indicated that the tooth sectioning technique was far better. In general, by skull examination, bobcat ages were consistently underestimated. Of 19 specimens placed in the young adult age class (13-24 months) by skull characters, 10 of these were actually over two years old as shown by cementum annuli. We saw no evidence that false annuli are formed in bobcats at least in Georgia and South Carolina.

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