Bobcat vs Excavator. What’s the Difference?

Defining Bobcats and Excavators

Bobcats (Bobcat – Wikipedia) are a species of wild cat native to North America. They are medium-sized cats that are slightly smaller than the Canada lynx. Bobcats have distinctive spotted or striped fur and tufted ears. They are solitary, territorial animals that hunt small prey like rabbits, birds, mice and squirrels.

Excavators (Excavators | Cat | Caterpillar) are heavy construction equipment used for digging and moving earth. They consist of a boom, stick, bucket and cab mounted on a pivoting base. Hydraulic cylinders power the boom, stick, bucket and steering to perform digging and lifting functions. Excavators are commonly used in the construction industry for earthmoving, material handling and demolition.

Origins and History

Bobcats evolved as a species over millions of years. They are believed to have descended from the Eurasian lynx which crossed into North America during the Pleistocene era over 1 million years ago. The modern bobcat Lynx rufus evolved as a distinct species around 20,000 years ago during the last ice age. Bobcats are well adapted predators that have thrived across North America for thousands of years. Their origins trace back through natural evolution over geological timescales.1

Excavators, on the other hand, were invented in the late 19th century starting as steam shovels used for earth moving and mining operations. In 1837, William Smith Otis invented the steam shovel which used cables, pulleys and a bucket to dig. The first hydraulic excavator was built in 1882 by Sir W. G. Armstrong & Company in England, using hydraulics to power the boom, bucket and swing.2 Diesel-powered crawler excavators emerged in the 1930s and technologies advanced rapidly through the 20th century. Unlike bobcats, excavators have a relatively brief history of human innovation and engineering over the past 150 years.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Bobcats have short brown or reddish-brown fur with white fur on their bellies and black spots or stripes on their backs, legs, and tails. They have wide faces with pointed ears and short tails that have a distinctive black tip. Bobcats have large front paws with five toes and semi-retractable claws that help them grip prey. Male bobcats are larger than females, weighing around 30 pounds while females weigh between 15-20 pounds. On average bobcats are around double the size of a domestic cat.

Excavators are large construction vehicles that consist of a cab, boom, dipper, bucket, and tracks. They have an articulated arm with a hydraulic boom and dipper that is fitted with a bucket to scoop and move dirt and other material. Excavators sit on metal tracks that allow them to move over rough terrain. They have a counterweight in the rear to balance the weight of the front bucket. Excavators come in different sizes with bucket capacities ranging from 0.04 cubic yards to 2.5 cubic yards. The size and shape of the excavator depends on its intended use.

Behavior and Capabilities

Bobcats are solitary creatures that are active day and night, but often prefer twilight hours for hunting. Their keen vision and hearing aid them in detecting small prey like rabbits, birds, and rodents. When capturing prey, bobcats pounce and deliver a death bite to the neck or back of the head [1]. They are able to carry or drag prey up to twice their own weight to a secluded location for feeding. Females come together with males only to mate. Females then give birth to a litter of 1-6 kittens and raise them alone until they disperse at around 9-10 months old [2].

Excavators, also called diggers or digging machines, are heavy construction equipment consisting of a boom, dipper (or stick), bucket and cab on a rotating platform known as the “house”. The house sits atop an undercarriage with tracks or wheels [3]. They are used to dig and move large amounts of earth, stone, or other materials during construction projects. An excavator’s bucket can dig and scoop loose material or hydraulically hammer solid surfaces. The boom can swivel to position the bucket more precisely. Excavators are versatile machines that can lift, carry and discharge materials efficiently over long distances.

Habitat and Distribution

The bobcat has a very large range, with a habitat spanning from southern Canada to central Mexico. According to research, bobcats prefer living in heavily wooded forests, but they also live in mountainous regions, deserts, and coastal swamps. Bobcats look for places with thick underbrush for hunting as well as rocky ledges, ravines, and bluffs for denning. Bobcats can thrive in suburban and semi-urban areas as long as there is adequate cover and prey. Their range covers most of the continental United States. [1]

Excavators, on the other hand, are heavy construction equipment used for digging and moving large amounts of soil, rock, debris and other materials. They are utilized in various construction sites across the world to perform earthwork operations like trenching, grading, demolition, material handling and more. Unlike wildlife with specific habitats, excavators are man-made machines designed for construction and can be used anywhere in the world where there is demand for their capabilities.

Diet and Nutrition

Bobcats are carnivores and get most of their nutrition from eating meat. Their diet consists primarily of small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, mice, rats, and birds. According to, bobcats tend to prefer relatively small prey that can be killed and eaten quickly rather than pursuing larger animals. This allows them to maximize their calorie intake while minimizing energy expenditure. Bobcats have also been known to scavenge carrion if easier food sources are scarce.

In contrast, excavators do not eat or require nutrition. Excavators are heavy construction equipment used to dig and move large amounts of earth, rock, sand, etc. They run on diesel or electric motors that provide power and do not need sustenance. The key difference regarding diet and nutrition between bobcats and excavators is that bobcats are living animals that must consume other organisms for energy and nutrients, while excavators are machines that operate on fuel or electricity.

Mating and Reproduction

Bobcats usually mate in the early spring, although the timing is variable. After a pregnancy of 60 to 70 days, a litter of about 3 kittens is born (source). The young remain with their mother for 1 year (source). Bobcats are solitary and territorial animals. The home range of a male bobcat overlaps that of several females, and males will mate with more than one female (source).

Excavators are engineered and manufactured machines that are not biological organisms, so they do not mate or reproduce.

Interaction with Humans

Bobcats are wild animals that sometimes come into conflict with humans as we encroach upon their natural habitat. Though bobcats tend to be shy and avoid people, they can potentially be dangerous like any wild animal. According to AZ Animals, while bobcats rarely attack humans and do not usually perceive humans as prey, they will defend themselves if cornered or threatened (source). There have been very rare cases of bobcat attacks, but most interactions are benign.

Humans operate excavators, which are heavy construction equipment consisting of a boom, dipper (or stick), bucket and cab on a rotating platform known as the “house”. Excavators are used for digging trenches, material handling, forestry work, and demolition. They allow humans to efficiently perform major earthwork and construction projects that would otherwise require extensive manual labor. The size and versatility of excavators have made them indispensable for large infrastructure and development projects around the world.

Threats and Conservation

Bobcats face a number of threats, primarily due to habitat loss from human expansion into their natural environments. According to, bobcats are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN but are considered endangered in some U.S. states like Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey. Habitat fragmentation from roads, development, and agriculture isolates bobcat populations and makes them more vulnerable to decline.

Unlike bobcats, excavators do not face specific conservation threats as a species. However, regular maintenance is required to keep excavators functioning properly and prevent breakdowns, according to industry guidelines. This involves routine inspections, fluid changes, lubrication, and replacement of parts like filters and belts.

Key Differences

Bobcats and excavators could not be more different. While bobcats are a species of wild cat native to North America, excavators are large industrial machines used in construction and digging projects. Here are some of the main differences:

Species – Bobcats are living, breathing animals that are members of the cat family Felidae. Excavators are inanimate machines made of metal and operated by humans.

Purpose – Bobcats are predators that hunt small prey like rabbits, while excavators are heavy machinery designed for digging and moving earth. Bobcats exist naturally while excavators are engineered by humans for specific functions.

Origins – Bobcats evolved naturally over millions of years to thrive in the wild. Excavators were invented in the late 1920s and refined over decades by construction equipment companies.

Locomotion – Bobcats move around by walking and running on four legs. Excavators move on wheels or tracks and are not self-propelled.

Diet – Bobcats are carnivores that feed on meat from smaller animals. Excavators cannot feed and require fuel and maintenance by humans to operate.

Reproduction – Baby bobcats are born live after a 60-62 day gestation period. Excavators are mass produced in factories from metal, rubber and other materials.

In summary, bobcats are living creatures while excavators are inanimate machines. They have completely different origins, purposes, capabilities and life cycles.

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