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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Mammal    Species Name:
Lynx rufus
Original name, or synonym is Felis rufa Schreber, 1777.

Common Name:


Fort Mandan, North Dakota   April 7, 1805
Fort Clatsop, Oregon   February 21, 1806

America's catholic cat

While at Fort Clatsop, Oregon, the Captains took time to describe and compare the Northwest fauna to that east of the Rockies.  One animal receiving their attention is the bobcat (tiger cat or tyger cat), which they deduce to be somewhat different from both the familiar eastern bobcat and the Canada lynx (their "Louservea").  Bobcats are found from Maine to Washington, including southern Canada, south to Baja, across Mexico and Texas all the way to Florida, back up to Maine and just about everywhere inbetween.  Across this region bobcats show variation in size and color patterns, which is reflected in their notes.

Bobcats are like pumas in being night active and secretive, so Lewis and Clark had scarce opportunity to observe these animals.  Altogether Lewis and Clark referred to three of the seven species of North American native cats, the puma, Canada lynx, and bobcat, however, they do not mention shooting any except the puma, which escaped and Drewyer's bobcat as they started their return up the Columbia.  It has been suggested that they may have purchased Canada lynx and bobcat skins from Indians in both North Dakota and Oregon.

For more information about this North American mammal, click here.

Journal Entries:

Capt. Clark, February 18, 1806--Whitehouse brought me a roab which he purchased of the Indians formed of three skins of the Tiger ...  more>>

References Schreber, Johann Christian Daniel, Der Naturforscher, Halle : J.J. Gebauer [etc.], 1774-1804., 1777

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See following caption

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