Lynx (Lynx canadensis)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family:    Felidae
Size:    Length: 24 to 42 inches (61 to 100 cm)
Weight: 11 to 40 pounds (5 to 18 kg)
Diet: Mainly snowshoe hare, as well as rodents, birds, fish and occasionally small deer
Distribution: Northern North America
Young:  1 to 5 kittens, once per year
Animal Predators:  Bears, mountain lions, wolves
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Kitten or cub
Lifespan: 2 to 15 years in the wild and up to 26 years in captivity



·        A lynx can jump up to six feet (1.8 m) in the air.

·        The lynx is almost identical to the bobcat, but they do not inhabit the same territory.

·        The word lynx comes from the Greek word meaning to shine.



Lynxes have light yellow and/or reddish-brown fur covered with darker spots. Their undersides are light beige. They have a short tail, tipped with black. Their ears are triangular in shape, with black tufts. They have sharp eyesight and hearing. Lynxes have long legs; the hind legs are longer than the forelegs.



Lynxes can be found in densely forested areas in Canada and Alaska, as well as some northern U.S. states. 


Feeding Habits

The primary source of food for the lynx is the snowshoe hare, but this is supplemented with rodents, birds, fish and occasionally a small deer. Lynxes stalk their prey, usually alone, and then catch it with a quick and stealthy pounce. 



Mating season lasts from January to early April with births occurring approximately nine to 10 weeks later. Lynxes live in pairs during mating season, but the female chases the male away before she has her kittens. The size of the litter may depend on the food supply—during years when food is plentiful, litters will be larger. The kittens are born with a furry coat, and their eyes open after 12 days. They begin to eat meat at one month, and are weaned at five months. By the age of two months, they begin to learn how to hunt. The kittens remain with their mother through the first summer and winter, then disperse before the next breeding season begins, although some siblings may stay together for awhile.



Lynxes are excellent climbers and swimmers, but because of their extraordinarily large feet, they are not fast runners. The size of their feet does, however, help them to travel through snow while hunting prey. Lynxes tend to be non-confrontational and if approached by other carnivores after catching prey, lynxes will often leave the kill uneaten. They appear to be territorial, but the ranges of females may overlap. Males mark their territory by using trees as a scratching post, then spraying the trunks with urine.



The lynx population cycles, and this is the major cause for concern regarding these animals. Every nine to ten years, the snowshoe hare’s numbers decline, which leads to a decline in lynx, as the younger kittens perish from lack of food. As the hares’ population increases, so does that of the lynx. This leads to a crisis every 10 years due to humans not taking the decrease in population into consideration, and hunting the lynx into near extinction during the low time. This has lead to a threatened listing in the United States by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In Colorado, where they were once extirpated, lynxes were reintroduced in 1999 and 2000.



Lynx Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US