Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and bobcats (Lynx rufus) are medium-sized (2-3 times larger than a large house cat, smaller than a mountain lion) cats that are similar in appearance. The are several physical characteristics to distinguish between Canada lynx and bobcat:
The black tail, ear tufts, and large feet characteristic of Canada lynx are shown clearly in this picture.
Tail: A lynx’s tail has a black tip all around, with the appearance of being dipped in a bottle of ink. A bobcat’s tail is striped with black bands towards the end and has a black tip.
Ears: Lynx have longer ear tufts than bobcats.
Feet: Lynx have much larger feet than bobcats.
While not a physical characteristic, a lynx is more
likely to provide humans with a “good” view,
often remaining in an area for a period of time while
people watch it. Bobcats are more secretive and elusive
Fish and Wildlife Service: Link to a brochure on how
to avoid trapping lynx; provides identification hints.
(note: the brochure is slow to load)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: A Bobcat or a Lynx
BBC: Canada lynx