Wild Cats in Texas

Texas Wild Cats

Texas Wild Cats

Texas is home to a variety of big cats, including mountain lions, bobcats, and lynxes. These wild cats may look similar, but they each have unique physical characteristics and behaviors.

Mountain lions are the largest of Texas’ wild cats. They can grow up to 8 feet long from nose to tail and weigh between 110-180 lbs. Mountain lions tend to hunt alone at night for deer, hogs, or smaller prey like rabbits and rodents. They typically live in the rugged terrain of the Texas Hill Country and West Texas.

Bobcats are smaller than mountain lions with a typical weight range of 11-30 lbs., but they’re still considered dangerous predators that can take down small animals like rabbits, ducks, or squirrels.

Types of Wild Cats: Bobcat, Cougar, Ocelot

Texas is home to a variety of wild cats, from large cats like the mountain lion and bobcat to smaller species such as the ocelot. Each of these cats plays an important role in Texas’ rich ecosystem, although their populations vary greatly across different regions. In this article, we explore some of the native wild cat species found in Texas and discuss how they interact with their environment.


The most common type of wild cat native to Texas is the bobcat. This medium-sized feline can be found throughout much of the state and prefers habitats such as forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountainous areas. The other two larger wild cats that inhabit parts of Texas are mountain lions and jaguars; however, both are rare sightings because their populations have been heavily impacted by hunting activities over the years.

Bobcat in Texas

Mountain lions (Cougars)

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, are one of the most majestic wild cats in Texas. These large felines can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 140 pounds. Despite their size and strength, mountain lions are elusive creatures that are rarely spotted by humans.

Mountain lions
Mountain lions in Texas

In Texas, mountain lions inhabit rugged terrain including mountains, forests, and grasslands. Their diet consists mostly of deer but they will also hunt smaller animals such as rabbits or birds when necessary. Mountain lions typically stay away from humans but if they feel threatened or provoked they may attack people or pets so it is important to be aware of your surroundings when hiking in areas inhabited by these wild cats.


The jaguarundi is a wild cat that resides in Texas, making it one of the few places where this species can be found. Belonging to the family of small cats known as Felidae, these cats are mostly found in Central and South America but have been occasionally spotted in Texas since the mid-20th century.

Jaguarundi in Texas

This species of wild cat has a unique physical appearance with its slender body and short legs. Its fur can range from grayish-brown to black and its ears are relatively large compared to other members of the Felidae family. The jaguarundi is also distinguished by its “mustache” which consists of dark markings on both sides of its face.

The jaguarundi prefers staying close to rivers and coasts, making them hard to spot due to their skulking behavior.


The jaguar one of the four wild cats native to Texas is an impressive animal. It is the largest feline in North and South America, with a body length of up to 6 feet long and weighing up to 250 pounds. Not only is it the largest cat in this hemisphere, but also an apex predator that feeds on animals such as deer, peccary, capybaras, and even caiman. Jaguars are found primarily in southern Texas within certain national parks and wildlife refuges near the Rio Grande River.


Jaguars have been listed as endangered species since 1972 due to habitat destruction from expanding cities and illegal poaching for their prized fur coats.


The ocelot is an elusive wild cat that resides in Texas. A stunning and rare sight, these mysterious cats are native to the state and can be found in various habitats such as thorny scrub, semi-arid grasslands, and even dense forests.


These wild cats have a beautiful spotted pattern of fur on their bodies and long tails that help them balance when leaping from place to place. They typically grow to about two feet long and weigh 15-20 pounds. Ocelots have powerful legs which allow them to run at incredible speeds up to 30 miles per hour! This makes it difficult for predators such as coyotes or foxes who may try to catch them.

Though they generally keep out of sight, ocelots can sometimes be seen hunting during the early morning hours or just before dusk when they are most active.


The Margay is a small wild cat found in Central and South America, but also present in Texas. They are one of the few species that can climb both up and down trees head first! These cats typically have long tails to help them balance when they climb and jump between trees.

Margay - Leopardus wiedii - NatureWorks
image via pbs

Margays prefer an environment with dense vegetation or forest cover where they can hunt for small animals including birds, rodents, reptiles, frogs, insects, and even fish. They feed mostly at night on their prey but have been observed hunting during the day as well. Margays have adapted well to living in agricultural landscapes like those found in Texas. They build dens under fallen logs or brush piles near rivers or creeks for protection from predators such as coyotes, bobcats, and foxes.

Habitat: Prairies, Forests, Mountains

Texas is bustling with wild cats of all kinds, making their homes in prairies, forests, and mountains. From the small bobcat to the majestic mountain lion, Texas has no shortage of felines living in the wild. While most Texans may not get to see these animals often, they still play a vital role in maintaining a healthy balance within our ecosystems.

Texas is home to four large cat species: the jaguarundi, cougar (mountain lion), bobcat, and ocelot – as well as smaller species such as the margay and jaguar. Of these six cats, bobcats are by far the most common; however, their numbers have drastically declined due to hunting and habitat loss over many decades. The other five species are considered threatened or endangered due to similar reasons.

What wild cats live in the Prairies of Texas?

The wild cats that inhabit the prairies of Texas are primarily bobcats and mountain lions.

Bobcats are medium-sized cats with spotted coats and tufted ears. They can be found in wooded areas, grasslands, deserts, and swamps across Texas. Bobcats hunt rabbits, rodents, birds, and other small animals for food.

Mountain lions are also known as cougars or pumas and are the largest wild cat species in North America. They prefer to live in rugged terrains such as mountains and canyons but can also be found in prairies throughout Texas. Mountain lions typically hunt deer, elk, and other large mammals for food.

What wild cats live in Forests in Texas?

Texas is home to a variety of wild cats, including bobcats and mountain lions. Bobcats are the most common wild cat found in Texas and can be found in habitats ranging from coastal marshes to desert scrublands. These cats are typically solitary animals and can reach up to 30 pounds in weight.

Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are another species of wild cat found in Texas. They inhabit remote areas such as the Hill Country and Big Bend National Park. Mountain lions tend to be larger than bobcats, with males reaching up to 140 pounds and females weighing around 90 pounds.

Both bobcats and mountain lions play an important role in keeping the balance of nature by preying on other small mammals such as rabbits, rodents, and deer. As a result, it is important that we protect these species so that they can continue to thrive in their natural habitats.

What wild cats live in the Mountains of Texas

The mountains of Texas are home to several wild cats, including bobcats and mountain lions. Bobcats can be found throughout the state, from the pine forests of East Texas to the desert mountains of West Texas. They are typically solitary animals and feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Mountain lions are also found in the mountains of Texas. They are apex predators that hunt deer, elk, and other large mammals. Mountain lions tend to live in more remote areas away from human activity and can travel long distances when searching for food or mates.

Both bobcats and mountain lions are important species for maintaining a healthy balance of wildlife in the mountains of Texas. It is important to remember that these animals should not be approached or disturbed as they can become dangerous when threatened.

Diet: Rodents and Prey Animals

Wild cats in Texas are common predators of rodents and other small prey animals. Their diet consists of a wide variety of species including mice, voles, shrews, rabbits, birds, and insects. While these predators may seem dangerous to humans at first glance, they’re actually essential members of their environment as they help keep the populations of smaller animals from becoming too large.

The wild cat’s diet also helps protect livestock from being attacked by rodents or other pests. They can detect the presence of possible prey with their keen sense of hearing and smell. They will then sneak up on them and use their sharp claws to catch the animal before it has time to react. As they feed on these creatures, they provide an important service to local farmers: keeping pest populations in check.

Hunting Techniques: Stealth, Speed, and Agility

Wild cats in Texas are some of the most elusive and powerful animals in the region. Hunting these animals requires a special combination of stealth, speed, and agility. It is important for anyone hunting wild cats to be prepared with the proper techniques in order to ensure a successful hunt.

Stealth is key when hunting wild cats in Texas as they can easily detect any movement or sound from far away distances. Therefore, hunters should move slowly and quietly, using whatever cover is available to stay hidden from their prey’s watchful eyes. Speed also plays an important role for those looking to catch up with these quick creatures before they disappear into the wilderness. Being able to keep up with the cat’s movements can help hunters better plan a course of pursuit that will lead them right into the animal’s path.

Conservation Efforts: Preservation and Protection

The wild cats of Texas remain an important part of the state’s natural heritage. Unfortunately, due to growing threats such as habitat destruction and increasing numbers of predators, these big cats are now facing challenges that have put their populations at risk. Conservation efforts are being made to ensure that these magnificent creatures can continue to exist in their native habitats for years to come.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working with various conservation organizations throughout the region on a variety of projects aimed at preserving and protecting wild cats in Texas. These include programs for researching population trends, creating educational materials about coexisting with wildlife, and developing strategies for managing habitat fragmentation caused by human activities. Additionally, they are also providing funds for public outreach campaigns designed to increase awareness about the need for conservation actions that will benefit both the animals and people living in proximity to them.

Conclusion: Protecting Wild Cat Populations

The endangered wild cats of Texas are facing a number of threats that have led to their population decline. Poaching, deforestation, and habitat destruction are the primary causes of the decrease in wild cats. Conservation efforts must be taken immediately in order to ensure that these beautiful animals remain part of our natural heritage for generations to come.

Texas is home to five species of wild cats – bobcats, jaguarundis, ocelots, cougars, and jaguars. All five species have experienced dramatic population losses due to human activities such as poaching and habitat destruction. In addition, some species may also be threatened by urban development or disease outbreaks from domestic cats. The current state of affairs has caused alarm among conservationists who fear for the future of these felines.

In order to protect wild cat populations in Texas, aggressive conservation measures must be undertaken immediately.

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