Reproductive Biology and Kitten Growth of Captive Bobcats in Mississippi

We examined 8 years of data concerning female bobcat (Felis rufus) reproductive characteristics and kitten growth parameters. Estrus in adults occurred in February and March, peaking in February, while yearlings cycled later (Mar to Jul). Two litters/female/year was the maximum observed, although 3 estrous cycles were observed within a single breeding season. Recycling occurred 12-14 days following kitten loss. Gestation length averaged 64 days, with parturition occurring between April and May. Litter size ranged from 1-5 kittens (x = 2.3), with a sex ratio of 1.24 M : 1 F. Mean birth mass of kittens was 150.27 g and the mean daily mass increment was 6.1 % to 34.4%. Patterns of tooth eruption and morphological characteristics relative to age are summarized.

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