Centennial Museum gecko logo

Desert Diary


If you'll pardon the play on words, when it comes to missing links, they are no longer missing. They're right here in our Chihuahuan Desert, as well as scattered around much of North America. Of course, I'm actually referring to the genus Lynx, to which our own Bobcat belongs.

One of the more successful, medium-sized predators, Bobcats are common throughout our region. The name "Bobcat" refers to the short, or bobbed, tail, shared in American wild cats only by its northern relative, the Canadian Lynx. Equally at home in low desert, woodland, and forest, it finds rabbit-sized prey an ideal menu item, but anything from quail al dente to a tasty mouse morsel will do. And it's not adverse to doing in an occasional errant domestic cat, if given the opportunity. Though common, they tend to be secretive as far as people go. If you think that it's going to be easy to spot one of these shy creatures in the wild, think again! Most of the time, as far as you'll be concerned, it's the missing Lynx.
pen and ink


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.


Bobcat (Lynx rufus). Photograph by Conrad Fijetland, courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



Lariviere, S., and L. R. Walton. 1997. Lynx rufus. Mammalian Species No. 563:1-8. American Society of Mammalogists.

Kays, R. W., and D. E. Wilson. 2002. Mammals of North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 240 pp.

Web Resources

Bobcat, general.

Discover Life.