Bobcat vs Coyote: How They Coexist and Differ

The encounter between the bobcat and coyote is one of the very rare scenes which you can witness in the wilderness. That’s why people are very curious about the fight between bobcat vs coyote and want to know who would be the ultimate winner. Both of these animals mainly reside in the North American continent, especially in the United States of America.

They share habitats in the semi-arid areas of the USA. Both of these animals are equally ferocious and aggressive and capable of hunting down its opponent. In this article, we are going to dig deep into this encounter and let you know who could take lead in this fight. In this regard, we are going to compare these animals based on their physical features.

Bobcat vs Coyote
Bobcat vs Coyote

Comparison between bobcats versus coyotes based on their physical features

Bobcats and coyotes are among rare felines and canines respectively who are almost the same size. Let’s compare these animals based on their size, speed, defense mechanism, and offensive behavior.  In this way, we can analyze which animal is faster, bigger, and stronger than other animals and which animal would have an upper hand in terms of physical strength.

SizeHeight: 12-24 inches Weight: 9-33 pounds Length: 2-3.5 feetHeight: 24-26 inches Weight: 15-45 pounds Length: 30-35 inches
Speed35 mph35-40 mph
Bite force548 N681 N
SensesExcellent visibility, hearing, and smelling sense. It has great visibility, smells the same as dogs, quite good hearing sense.
DietCarnivores like to eat birds, rodents, beavers, rabbits, bats, and deer.Omnivores like to eat rodents, squirrels, rabbits, insects as well as fruits.
Defense mechanismSpeed, power, and scary yowls.Speed and senses
Offensive capabilitiesStrong bite plus sharp and retractable claws.Very powerful bite plus sharp claws.
Predatory behaviorStalker and fatal striking blowAmbush predators and hunt in packs only.
Life span13-14 years in the wilderness10-15 years in the wilderness

Size: bobcat vs coyote

Bobcat has an average size. It can reach a maximum weight of 30 pounds, height of 2 feet, and length of 3.5 feet. On the other hand, coyotes could be as tall as 2.5 feet and on average weigh around 45 pounds. Overall, the coyote has an edge over the bobcat in terms of their size.


Both of these animals have almost the same speed. Bobcats can run with a maximum speed of 35 mph while coyotes could also run with a speed in the range between 35 to 40 mph. Thus, bobcats and coyotes are almost equal in terms of speed.

Bite force: coyote vs bobcat

Bite force of coyote vs bobcat
Coyote has a bite force of 648N which is 100N more than bobcats.

Bobcats and coyotes rely on their teeth and jaws for hunting down their prey. It means both of these animals come with very powerful bite force. Bobcats can exhibit a bite force of almost 548 N and with this force, they can easily tear down the flesh.

On the other hand, a coyote can exhibit a bite force of 648 N which is slightly stronger than the bite force of a bobcat. They can also easily tear away flesh with the help of their sharp and bigger teeth. Overall, the coyote has an edge over the bobcat in terms of bite force and teeth strength. 


Most of the time both of these animals share a habitat with each other. Mainly, these animals are found in the semi-arid areas of North and Central America. There are also good chances of their encountering in forests, mountains, grasslands, and desert-type areas.

It has also been observed that both of these animals are sharing territory but don’t engage in a fight with each other. In these territories, these animals like to hunt together. Generally, bobcats like to live in dense and coniferous forests that have good cover for hiding purposes while coyotes like to live in open areas like deserts.


Both bobcats and coyotes have very sharp senses which are highly helpful in tracking down their prey in the wilderness. Bobcats have excellent vision capability during both the day and night time. They are also quite good in terms of smelling and hearing sense.

Coyotes also come with good night vision as well as a great sense of smelling. It is almost the same as the senses of dogs. Their hearing sense is perfect which let them hear the presence of prey even a quarter-mile away. In the end, we can say both of these animals are almost equal in terms of sensing capability.

Bobcat vs coyote Track

Both of these animals exhibit altogether different kinds of tracks. Bobcat has retractable claws while coyotes have non-retractable claws. The track of coyotes would consist of one front lobe and two back lobes in their heel pads. Bobcats come with two front lobes and three rear lobes. The size of the coyote paw print is also a little bit larger than the size of the bobcat paw print.

Defense mechanism: bobcat vs coyote

Speed is the main defense mechanism that both of these animals deploy against their opponents. Bobcats also make very loud noises like yowling as well as a scary display of faces in difficult situations. On the other hand, coyotes like to travel in the pack to avoid or deal with these difficult situations.


Bobcats are very well known for their reddish brown and fluffy fur. The underside of the fur is whole white in the case of bobcats but the tip of the tail will be black in color. Moreover, they also come with spotted coats having graying markings.

On the other hand, coyotes come with red and light gray color fur which is usually intermixed with the black and white color body. Coyotes living at higher altitudes are usually darker in color as compared to those living in the ground or deserts.

Offensive capabilities

Bobcat is very aggressive while tracking down their prey. Initially, they track the footprints of their prey and pounce on them at the most opportune moment. They kill their prey with a single striking blow in a very lethal bite. On the other hand, coyotes don’t like to stalk their prey but immediately kill the prey on spot.

However, both of these animals like to target the soft spot of their prey like the throat and neck while hunting it down. They also don’t apply the power of their claws immediately and first try to moderately inflict their prey. Thus, both of these animals are almost equal in terms of their combative capabilities.


Bobcat has a short tail and that could reach a maximum length of 6 or 7 inches. It is short but bobbed due to which these cats are named bobcats. On the other hand, coyotes come with quite long tails which could be as long as 16 inches. It is also quite colorful, bushy, and thick.  

Key differences between bobcat and coyote

Key differences between bobcats and coyotes
Coyotes resemble dogs, while bobcats are similar to house cats.

There are many similarities as well as differences between bobcats and coyotes. Both of these animals come in the mammal category. However, coyotes show a lot of resemblance with dogs while bobcats are almost the same as house cats. When it comes to differences in their physical appearances, then we can say coyotes are larger and heavier than bobcats.

Moreover, Coyotes also come with strong teeth and more powerful bite force as compared to the bite force of bobcats. Generally, bobcats are solitary in nature while coyotes like to hunt in a pack. Despite having a lot of differences, these animals also exhibit a lot of similarities most prominently in terms of their strength and size.

Key Similarities between bobcat and coyote

Despite many differences between these animals, some similarities also exist between them. The tracks of the bobcat and coyote are almost the same except for some minor differences. Although bobcats have retractable claws while coyotes come with non-retractable claws. By using these tracks, you can easily trace these animals in the wilderness or on dusty roads.

Both of these animals release special scents when they move from one area which is highly helpful in hunting them down. They are opportunistic predators, that’s why they can easily track down and kill their prey without any difficulty. The stealth approach and silent nature also help them a lot in hunting down their prey. In the wilderness, you might not notice until you listen to their scary and loud growls.

Bobcat vs coyote: Who would be the ultimate winner?

Coyotes can easily take down bobcats
Coyotes can easily take down bobcats.

In simple words, we can say the coyote has an upper hand over the bobcat and would be the ultimate winner if the fight happens between a bobcat and the coyote. As we have already mentioned above, coyotes are larger as well as stronger than bobcats. In the fight between coyote and bobcat, coyote gives a striking with the help of their long teeth very powerful bite force.

We could not imagine that bobcats are not capable of giving such striking blows. Bobcats also come with strong teeth and powerful claws and could give inflicting damage on coyotes. But if they don’t deploy any stealth tactic and fight generally on the basis of their size and strength then there are more chances of the coyote winning over the bobcat in the end.

Frequently asked questions

As we all know bobcats are very aggressive wild cats but these cats could not be as aggressive as the coyotes. Coyotes are much more powerful, fearless, and aggressive animals we can find in the wilderness. Coyotes don’t like to run away from the fight scene, unlike bobcats who like to avoid fighting.

Yes, coyotes are dangerous animals. They might not attack or approach human beings. But they are extremely dangerous for other wild animals as well as livestock. They prefer to attack small and young animals like rodents, squirrels, and rabbits but they are also equally capable of hunting down large animals like deer, sheep, and goats.

In some rare cases, coyotes were also seen attacking human beings. But it usually happens when humans interfere in their habitat and establish their settlements in the areas of habitats. It means it is better to stay away from these wild animals especially if you go camping or hiking in wild areas.

It is not usual for the animals like a coyote to kill and eat a bobcat. First of all, coyotes don’t like to attack big and dangerous animals like a bobcat. They prefer to eat small animals like squirrels, rabbits, and mice where they don’t have to do a lot of labor or there are fewer chances of injury. However, in extraordinary circumstances when they have nothing to eat then they might attack, kill and finally eat a bobcat.

There might be a possibility but there are very fewer chances of coyotes being hunted down by animals like bobcats if a fight happens between them. Coyotes are large, strong, and powerful animals having very long teeth as well as very powerful bite force. There are very slim chances of a coyote being hunted down by animals like bobcats.

However, there are many other animals like wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears who can kill and ultimately eat coyotes. Golden eagles are also very well known for swooping down on young coyotes. Human beings are also the most prominent hunters of coyotes for getting the fur coyotes as it has a lot of commercial significance.


In a nutshell, we can say both bobcats and coyotes are very aggressive, powerful, and strong mammals. They exhibit some similarities as well as a lot of differences. They mainly reside in the North American continent and share habitat in semi-arid areas. However, if a deadly encounter happens between these animals then there are more chances of coyotes being the ultimate winner of this fight.

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